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How to Balance Your Child’s Behavior and Your Role

How is your child’s behavior now that school is back? Are things moving along smoothly? Is your child, tween or teen excited to be back in school, yet not spending downtime with friends? Does your child or teen prefer his phone to in-person friends, misses the coach’s clear annoyance, or abruptly stops a conversation and walks away? How to Balance Your Child’s Behavior and Your Role As a parent, are you caught in the middle, trying to balance your own emotions about her poor behavior while also recognizing the potential trauma that the pandemic may have induced?  It can be … Continue reading How to Balance Your Child’s Behavior and Your Role

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5 Life Hacks to Recognize the Importance of Tone

This time of year, as parents wade back into the school routine, you may be noticing your tweens and teenagers have already missed assignments. Similar to wading through a 1-800 customer service line, we can spend hours online trying to resolve issues. We encourage our tweens and teens to write their teacher and work through the systems themselves – even suggest they go to speak to a teacher to clarify an assignment or discuss missing work – but this can be fraught with complexities and even met with a wall of negativity and resistance. “Are you ever going to post … Continue reading 5 Life Hacks to Recognize the Importance of Tone

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Help Kids Learn Basic Social Skills During the First Weeks of In-Person School

It’s been about three weeks since our children returned to school buildings. How is the new normal treating your family? For most, this is the first time since schools closed in March 2020 that our children have had a full-time, in-person schedule. Do you need to support your child as they re-learn basic social skills? Most parents and teachers are cautiously monitoring our children: how are they holding up academically and socially while in new classroom arrangements that no longer offers grouping or indoor lunches?   How to help young people learn basic social skills for the rapidly changing world … Continue reading Help Kids Learn Basic Social Skills During the First Weeks of In-Person School

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Lonely Teen

Q:  My son is a junior in high school and has been back to school over two weeks.  I am concerned my teen is lonely. He rarely eats lunch at school and spends most of the weekends online. He told me he was going to social events last year, but it turns out he didn’t. How can I support him? Any advice appreciated! A: You have hit on one of the most heartbreaking experiences as a parent – a lonely teen. Your son’s peer group is one of the biggest factors influencing his choices and behavior. Let’s take a step … Continue reading Lonely Teen

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The Critical Need for Empathy 

We are in a chapter unlike any before. Now, more than ever, we have a critical need for empathy – as well as an obligation to demonstrate it.  Not only are we in a social crisis – we are sick and tired of it. Socially distancing made us exhausted, emotional and LONELY – and now we are putting the masks back on. Are We Becoming More Empathetic, or Less? We came together as a community at the start of COVID – backing each other, placing signs of support on our front lawns, sharing memes….  but could we also have been … Continue reading The Critical Need for Empathy 

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Back to School Social Emotional Support

The Delta variant has all of us holding our breaths; PLEASE not another year of enforcing mask rules, keeping kids socially distanced, making up for lost learning and figuring out how to offer social emotional support! You may be nervous about sending your kids back to school, yet you may prefer it to watching your kid hunched over a screen for another semester. This year in particular, there is going to be a lot more talk about social-emotional support. Let’s talk about how to support your child emotionally. Help Kids Emotionally Prepare for School Now, as summer is still here … Continue reading Back to School Social Emotional Support

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Olympics Themed Social Emotional Learning Activities

Who isn’t mesmerized by the athleticism, leadership and character of the Olympic athletes? Young children picture themselves on these mats, fields and courts, so don’t miss the opportunity to use the Olympics to create social skills learning activities this summer. Join the millions (billions?) of parents who are focusing on helping kids to re-engage with their peers after almost two years of distance learning. Social Skills – and Gross Motor – Activities When we stop to think about what skills are involved in playing games and participating in sports, we realize that there are many Social Emotional Learning skills that … Continue reading Olympics Themed Social Emotional Learning Activities

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My Child is Lonely, What Should I Do?

Questions involving lonely children and teens have been coming up a lot recently. Parents are struggling with the pain associated with loneliness – parents of all ages and circumstances. Q: What Can I do if My Child is Lonely? If you notice a pattern, i.e. your child’s friends aren’t talking to her, help her figure out the reasons why. Don’t tell, but rather ask, “How come?” If your child is coming to you and saying they are being left out – that is so much easier than the child who denies he has a problem. If your child approaches you … Continue reading My Child is Lonely, What Should I Do?

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Social Emotional Challenges of Gifted / Learning Differences Children and Adults

It is common for people with learning differences to experience powerfulstrengths but also social emotional challenges.  Added social emotional challenges may affect gifted children with learning differences (also known as 2e or twice-exceptional i.e. they possess characteristics of both giftedness and learning differences ) because they are often confused and frustrated by the disconnect; how they can excel in certain areas and yet flounder in others. This frustration can manifest in difficulties connecting to peers. Social skills and the ability to read social cues are often the culprit. Twice-exceptional (2e) people often struggle with perceptions of being different and feeling … Continue reading Social Emotional Challenges of Gifted / Learning Differences Children and Adults

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Social Skills Win the Interview

You thought that your background and experience should get you the job, right? Yes, and no. They are only part of the equation. Of course your skills, knowledge and expertise are important, however, they don’t tell your whole story. This may seem unfair. You’d like to believe that when you’re interviewing for a job, all that counts is your background and experience. Yes, the interviewer and hiring manager care about your skills, responsibilities, expertise and knowledge, however, social skills can win the interview. Adopt a Sports Mentality Interviewing can be stressful, intimidating and uncomfortable. You may want this position desperately … Continue reading Social Skills Win the Interview

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How to Improve Social Skills in a Teen Who is Gifted or has Learning Differences

My Child is Lonely Q: How can I improve social skills in a child who is gifted or has learning differences? I try to help my child make new friends, but she will not listen. She clings onto friends who don’t treat her well. It is so difficult to watch – again – the same mistakes that ultimately leave her in pain! When I manage the courage to discuss it, she screams, “I AM Fine, Thank you Very Much!” or “I’m OK! I don’t want to talk about it!”  How can I improve social skills in my teen? Unfortunately, everything … Continue reading How to Improve Social Skills in a Teen Who is Gifted or has Learning Differences

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The One Teacher That Made a Difference

Kids will have so many different teachers throughout their young academic years — all with different teaching styles and different ways they relate to each child. Some will be in their first years of teaching, while others approach retirement. Some will be great, some good, and some bad. But it’s that ONE teacher we will remember.. and sadly, they probably don’t even known it. If Your Child or Teen has Learning Differences, the Teacher Can Really Matter A teacher can single-handedly change how a kid feels about school. They can give your unique learner a chance to believe in themselves, … Continue reading The One Teacher That Made a Difference

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My Child is Hiding From Friends

Q: “My daughter seems to be sad and anxious. She is missing the bus on purpose, claiming to be ill and even asking to be homeschooled. I think she may be hiding from friends. But when I ask her she says she is fine. What do I do?” A: I have heard this from many parents. This is an unfortunate fallout from the pandemic. Not everyone is excited to return to “normal”. Shy kids before the pandemic may have sunk further into their own bubbles. How to Work with Your Child to Find Out What is Really Going On Stay … Continue reading My Child is Hiding From Friends

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Want Less Stress with Your Socially Challenged Teen? Learn To See the Little Wins

Help your Socially Challenged Teen As parents of a socially challenged teen, we often look for big change and big wins. We want to hear that our teenager is “getting it” and that they are really willing to change, however, to help your socially challenged teen, recognize and appreciate that change happens with little wins, little shifts and small successes. The road to change is not paved with momentous events as in a hallmark movie and waiting for these events will only result in disappointment.  For example, if your teen is working on flexibility, they might not display frequent, regular … Continue reading Want Less Stress with Your Socially Challenged Teen? Learn To See the Little Wins

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Is Your Kid A Hot Mess? 10 Ways to Help Keep Their Emotions In Check So You Get A Little Peace

As we turn the corner from the height of the pandemic and into summer, many parents are struggling with concerns about their child’s emotional state. Carrying a 500 pound backpack, seeing people they had forgotten, realizing new relationships have formed during hybrid or shut down schooling or even just trying to use social skills they have not used in a while can be tough. Not to mention all the struggles that go into childhood and being a teenager.  As you hear the stories of other kids who seemed to have climb Mount Everest during the pandemic while getting straight A’s, … Continue reading Is Your Kid A Hot Mess? 10 Ways to Help Keep Their Emotions In Check So You Get A Little Peace

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Why We Need Social Emotional Learning Now More Than Ever

The Importance of Character, Integrity and Happiness With the hope vaccines bring, we must now pull ourselves out from our cozy nests, pods and intimate social bubbles. We need to not only make new friends but also to repair what has been damaged during the pandemic. Most of us agree that it is more important for a child to develop good character, integrity, and find happiness than it is to get good grades, a good job, or to be accepted into a good college. Teachers agree and hold themselves accountable to guiding students to build confidence, help others and apply … Continue reading Why We Need Social Emotional Learning Now More Than Ever

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7 Ways to Help Your Kid’s Rusty Social Skills Now That the Pandemic Is Winding Down

The Impact of COVID on Social Emotional Skills No one can dismiss the impact rusty social skills has had on all of us, especially our children. Calling it a missed year is an understatement. How can we expect our child to assimilate into hybrid or in-person learning when they haven’t been practicing their social skills? What about the child who was shy, introverted or lonely before COVID? Will life be better or worse for them?  One year of over-indulgence in screens and rusty social skills and now we are to sit back and expect life to be great for them? … Continue reading 7 Ways to Help Your Kid’s Rusty Social Skills Now That the Pandemic Is Winding Down

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Introducing “How To SEL” – Everyday Child and Family Social Emotional Coaching

Joint Venture By leading SEL experts Caroline Maguire, M. Ed., and Scarlett Lewis Newtown, CT (April 12, 2021) – The Choose Love Movement, a non-profit SEL organization, in partnership with Caroline Maguire, parenting and SEL expert, announced today the release of How To SEL, an innovative essential life skills coaching subscription designed to make social emotional learning (SEL) skills easy to learn and implement for everyone, every day. How To SEL, released in time to help address the very real possibility of a secondary social emotional trauma wave, offers desperately-needed SEL support to both children and adults who have been … Continue reading Introducing “How To SEL” – Everyday Child and Family Social Emotional Coaching

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You’re Not a Bad Parent

Dear Mom: Adulting is Hard. If You Don’t Have This All Figured Out – It’s OK Times have changed and what we are asked to handle now is not only so much more than our parents had to handle, it is so much more than we had to handle just one year ago!  You are cook, driver, psychologist, custodian, enforcer, nurturer and advocate all wrapped into one human being. We Are in the Parenting Equivalent Of the Industrial Revolution Do you wonder how we can help our children self-advocate, cope with anxiety, confront mean girls, jock boys, come to terms … Continue reading You’re Not a Bad Parent

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Essential Guide to Transitioning to Social Interactions – Post COVID

Social isolation was not easy at first. We weren’t prepared for it. Now, one year later, we’ve grown accustomed to a lack of physical human interaction. I have heard from people all over the world, distressed that they are unable to meet people every day, to interact and to have mundane conversations. But NOW I am hearing even stranger – and scarier – messages. Many have come to prefer a life with limited interactions. How do we venture back to in-person social interactions? How to Transition Back to Face-to-Face Social Interactions Introverts and extroverts alike are now expressing trepidation at … Continue reading Essential Guide to Transitioning to Social Interactions – Post COVID

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How To Help Shy Children Step Outside Comfort Zone

How Can I Help My Shy Child Make New Friends? My child says it is too hard to play with new kids.  Aren’t we supposed to step outside our comfort zone?  The first thing I suggest is to ask your child what makes this hard? Why does she avoid trying new things and joining in? The beauty of asking questions is that it allows the child to identify – for themselves – why this is the case and what lies outside their comfort zone. Your child may truly not know what to do or how to  join in. Identify Something … Continue reading How To Help Shy Children Step Outside Comfort Zone

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5 Reasons Why We’re All Hyper-Sensitive Now (And How You Can Take Your Sanity Back)

Why We are Sensitive During COVID-19 For some – maybe for you – this pandemic has been dreadful. The isolation and loneliness. A job loss. Death or illness. New worries about finances, health or the future. The pandemic has left an indelible toll on the country. Experts also warn of a “second pandemic” – an increase in mental and behavioral illness that follows the first pandemic in its wake. A report by the United Nations and World Health Organization indicates that 45 percent of Americans reported experiencing distress due to the COVID-19 crisis. What is Sensitivity? Being sensitive about something … Continue reading 5 Reasons Why We’re All Hyper-Sensitive Now (And How You Can Take Your Sanity Back)

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3 Calming Strategies For Kids When They Hit The Wall & Fall Into A Total Panic

Who is this Kid? Your child doesn’t reach out to a friend for weeks yet expects that friendship to resume right where it left off. Your child rolls their eyes when you say that 7th grade was hard for you too. Your shy child prefers to hibernate and tells you that this virtual life is better for them, yet you know they are hiding and opting out. Your child is irritable from the minute she appears in the kitchen yet can’t express why. This behavior probably leaves you wondering how to handle it, how to remain calm and how to help … Continue reading 3 Calming Strategies For Kids When They Hit The Wall & Fall Into A Total Panic

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How Adept are You at Reading the Room?

The Importance of Tailoring Messages Have you ever mis-spoken? Have you mistakenly hurt, offended or alienated someone? More than likely, you answer yes. And more than likely, you regret it and wish you could change that interaction. Tailoring messages and our contributions is important because it builds community and friendships. Reading the Room It is important to learn how to scan the space and environment for verbal and nonverbal energy, words or dynamics. Why? So we can tailor our messages. Stress impacts our ability to read the room. We are all under stress due to the  uncertainty associated with the … Continue reading How Adept are You at Reading the Room?

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How To Help Your Kid When They Regularly Misread Social Signals With Friends

Facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and the context of a situation are social signals for us to pause, read, and decipher how to act. You know your child is rarely aware of subtle social signals and does not understand or read people’s moods to recognize what is important to them. When children do not read or interpret nonverbal information, they tend to struggle to understand certain unwritten signals from teachers, friends, and future bosses. Why Doesn’t My Child Pick Up on Social Signals? You see your child ignore the signals and pleas from friends in social situations to … Continue reading How To Help Your Kid When They Regularly Misread Social Signals With Friends

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10 Things To Calm YOU Down When Raising Kids With Executive Functioning Challenges

Raising Kids With Executive Functioning Challenges Building strategies to help you calm down, thinking and wise in the moment – even when your child is reacting, melting down or seems oblivious to something urgent and necessary – is paramount. Weak executive function means your child may be immature and might struggle with social and academic realms. Your child’s frontal cortex development may be 3 years behind neurotypical children. Raising these kids can be rewarding, yet it also means you as a parent often have to be less reactive and more responsive when guiding your child. Does any of this sound … Continue reading 10 Things To Calm YOU Down When Raising Kids With Executive Functioning Challenges

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Why Does My Kid Think He Knows Better Than The Adult?

You may not feel you needed to be told that arguing with adults is a social faux pas but if your child does not understand the dynamic, then coaching him to understand how his behavior impacts others, and how other people feel when he argues can help him learn important social skills for a lifetime. Your Child Thinks He Knows Better Than the Adult Parents often tell me that their child’s social behavior is baffling. Their child will get on their hind-legs and speak back to authority figures. The parent insists this is not how the child was raised and … Continue reading Why Does My Kid Think He Knows Better Than The Adult?

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What to Do When Your Teen Can’t Seem to Make Friends You Approve Of

He can’t seem to make friends, or the friends he does make, you don’t like. More than likely, you already know that banning anything rarely works. When you push, they pull. This goes for your teen’s friendships too. What is the answer? Collaboration. What To Do When Your Teen Can’t Make Friends or the Friends are Questionable Peers are the biggest factor influencing teens. Your daughter can’t seem to make friends and / or may be trying to fit into a friend group that is causing her to change her behavior or make poor choices. There are all types of friends, … Continue reading What to Do When Your Teen Can’t Seem to Make Friends You Approve Of

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How Can I Get My Kid To Listen & Do What He’s Told Without A Constant Battle Of Wills?

Many of us struggle when our child does not take “good advice” or barely turns to look at us when we speak. You know that part of the problem getting out the door or completing chores and other tasks is that your child does not listen. But when you suggest this is something she needs to work on- she ignores you, or the discussion ends in a melt down. And asking for simple things like putting shoes away so grandma does not trip seems to devolve into a battle. If you are struggling to get your child to listen, it … Continue reading How Can I Get My Kid To Listen & Do What He’s Told Without A Constant Battle Of Wills?

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Social Emotional Needs of Children

Children often struggle with social emotional skills. Social skills can be learned at any age, but it may develop slowly. Stay patient. Parents need to stay in tune of their child’s specific social emotional needs and help shape a strong framework for social-emotional health. I believe that children need peers of the same intellectual, emotional and curiosity levels. 6 Ways to Build Social Skills in Your Child: Build Her Organization and Problem-Solving Skills – Your child may struggle with disorganization because of high expectations of herself and others. Every day, help your child learn to think for himself. If he … Continue reading Social Emotional Needs of Children

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What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Why is it so Important During COVID?

What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL) My simple definition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – the ability to manage our emotions, build strong relationships, and live in a state of empathy, joy and empowerment. When you are feeling angry, irritated, overwhelmed in COVID, struggling to initiate caring communication, and bewildered by others’ choices and self-awareness, you are in the midst of a SEL experience. You can adapt to and adopt effective strategies, or you can succumbed to its effects. CASEL defines SEL as “how children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, set goals, show empathy for others, establish positive … Continue reading What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Why is it so Important During COVID?

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Talking to Your Children about the Coronavirus

Tools from Why Will No One Play With Me? to help you talk about the Pandemic with your child on Take Control ADHD Podcast  

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Build Social Emotional Skills Over the Holiday

The holidays are a very social time. This can be a good thing; and a not so good thing. Plan now to teach your child these social emotional skills exercises during the holidays. Common Holiday Social Skills Dilemmas Are you trying to avoid last year’s social challenges? Do you wish your teenager would chat easily with your uncle and not ignore everyone to text friends? Did your daughter’s clothing and comments raise eyebrows? Do you fear your son’s look of irritation or his sharp tone will make you cringe again? Were you told your kids played too rough with the … Continue reading Build Social Emotional Skills Over the Holiday

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5 Ways to Use Social Emotional Learning to Bring Back Joy

Do you worry about your child? You are not alone. The pandemic has hit all of us hard in so many ways: financially, medically, academically, and socially. Social emotional concerns are at an all-time high. Parents share their struggles and concerns with me. My heart breaks for these kids – and this includes my own two children. “Where is the fun?!” “How can this still be going on?” “Why can’t someone fix it?” Add to the pandemic the chaos of an armed insurrection that occurred at the US Capitol. We, parents, are confused and feel helpless. Wouldn’t you gladly “fix” this … Continue reading 5 Ways to Use Social Emotional Learning to Bring Back Joy

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5 Ways Kids & Teens Can Take Back Joy During COVID-19

5 Ways to Find Joy It’s six months into the pandemic, and your child is feeling the effects. Social distancing, virtual school, the loss of sports, chorus, and connections to friends are overwhelming your child or teen. His energy level is down. She hardly sees friends. All of their “free” time (which is quite a lot lately) is on screens. And most places are likely entering another phase of the COVID-19 lockdown, similar to last March. They’re likely in need of a few ways to find joy—maybe you are too!—so here, my tips to help take back your happiness. Joy is hard … Continue reading 5 Ways Kids & Teens Can Take Back Joy During COVID-19

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Empathy is Compassion

What is Empathy? Self awareness and empathy are not just “nice to have,” they impact people’s ability to be successful in life. Research has shown that people who cannot imagine another person’s inner emotional life, who cannot manage their emotions and who cannot read the room, struggle in the workplace and are less successful than people who have critical social emotional skills. Empathy is showing compassion, understanding another person’s experience. It is walking in someone else’s shoes.  The chances of bullying or ignoring another’s pain lessens remarkably in highly empathetic people.  The ability to show empathy is a life skill. … Continue reading Empathy is Compassion

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Self-Management Skills Required this Holiday

Like our nation, many of our families are divided. This election was a BIGGIE! Whichever side you are on, chances are self-management skills will be required this Holiday season! What is meant to be a time of joy, kindness, generosity and togetherness can be tinged with dread. We dread the division of our families and our country. We dread witnessing the jabs between our favorite aunt, who is waving a Trump flag, and our favorite cousin, who has spent his life in social service and is vehemently against Trump. Like our nation, many of our families are divided And like … Continue reading Self-Management Skills Required this Holiday

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Self-Awareness in Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Now is a great time to get to know yourself better! How do you respond to situations out of your control? The Importance of Self-Awareness Self-awareness is a core component of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and can have a huge impact on our lives. First, just as mindfulness, meditation and gratitude can shift your mindset, so can self-awareness. Second, it can bring a positive spin on things. Third, it can enable you to better understand yourself and why you do what you do. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) – a trusted source for knowledge about high-quality, … Continue reading Self-Awareness in Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

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Children With ADHD: Does It Ever Get Better?

Your Child with ADHD isn’t Trying to Upset You. Symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity can cause many problems if left untreated. If your child can’t focus and control himself, he may struggle in school, get into trouble, and find it hard to get along with others or make friends. These difficulties can lead to low self-esteem and possibly create a stressful home situation. ADHD Treatment Effective treatment can have a huge, positive impact on your child. Finding the right support, your child can get on track for success in all areas of life. The first thing to do if … Continue reading Children With ADHD: Does It Ever Get Better?

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Social Awareness and Rejection Sensitivity

  Halloween had always been a highlight in our house. Our little kids love the costumes, the anticipation, the decorating, the planning of routes with friends – and of course the candy. The Halloween Popularity Contest and The Un-Invited Child Halloween is around the corner and for many parents, this holiday now fills us with dread. Why? If our child is ignored or refused, or not invited out, or not with the friends they wished would ask them, they will sulk – or worse. Self-awareness and social-awareness are new variables added to a complex mix of invites, friends, social standing, … Continue reading Social Awareness and Rejection Sensitivity

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Social Withdrawal Concerns

Social isolation may be happening to you or someone you love because of COVID and social distancing.

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Encourage Social Skills Development

I take great pride in sharing with you the information that professionals know about how to encourage social skills development in people, especially those with lagging executive function skills. Consequently, I believe that the more information you are given, the better you can to support it. Be Patient: Transformation happens very slowly. As a parent, you are there all the time and their partner, but it can be confusing for both of you to navigate the social terrain. Further, this process requires an abundance of patience! Move from “No!!” to “Hmmm?…..“ Bridge to Betterment In my book, I describe Bridge … Continue reading Encourage Social Skills Development

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The Silver Lining: Empathy and Kindness

Are you finding yourself unsettled and anxious?  Routines? What routines? What really matters now? When circumstances jolt us from our routines, it is hard to reset. Business is not the same as usual. For many, the answer is to help others… If there is a silver lining in all of this… it is that we are experiencing unexpected kindness. I stopped in my tracks after reading this post in a local chat group. THIS is why the human spirit will not be denied. How to Help Someone Struggling: First, to set the scene, you have to create an opportunity to … Continue reading The Silver Lining: Empathy and Kindness

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When Someone Isn’t Nice, Should You Ignore It?

How to recover when someone says mean words.

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Keep the Social in Social Distancing

I’m seeing many introverts engaging more socially now due to our current, virtual world. Yay! Zoom is great for shy people as it can be less intimidating than walking up to someone in person. Now is the perfect time to work on strategies to build your (or your child’s) social and emotional skills for when we return to “normal” in-person interactions. The first step is to understand where you need help, and then to set achievable goals. What about interacting with others, online and in-person, causes you to avoid or delay connecting? Understanding where you need help is critical to … Continue reading Keep the Social in Social Distancing

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Social Spy

What is it to be a Social Spy? The concept of Social Spy is designed to help you or your child learn to manage concerns around social skills and social and emotional development. Exercise: Go into a virtual or public event with a mission to be a social spy to obtain specific social information. Rehearse ahead of time in order to watch other people in a subtle, covert way and to listen without looking like you are eavesdropping. The idea is to scan and read the room to learn crucial information about peers such as how they dress, what they … Continue reading Social Spy

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Collaborating Virtually at Work and School

Working or learning virtually can be a challenge especially if reading social cues and managing your communication is a challenge.  We have the technology to create and support virtual teams, but collaborating remotely requires special skills. These tips can help build social and communication skills in a virtual setting:  Consider who is Your Audience- Think about what you know about the people in each meeting or interactions, what motivates them? What is their history with you? What are their past choices and what does that tell you about how they will react to a situation? Then if need be, pause … Continue reading Collaborating Virtually at Work and School

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Connection is a Verb

We’ve all heard the sayings: “Money doesn’t fall from trees,” “The early bird gets the worm,” “Make new friends but keep the old.” What do they have in common? They require action! You don’t just sit on the couch and get rich (unless you are a youtuber or creating some new and improved way to work from home – stocks are super-hot now during COVID!)… but I digress… My goal in this post is to implore you to reach out and cultivate friends. Friends come in all forms and from all places: your kid’s school, neighbors, coworkers, place of worship, … Continue reading Connection is a Verb

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Rejection Sensitivity & ADHD

When you experience Rejection Sensitivity, you have a heightened reaction to a real, perceived or even anticipated event, person or situation. This reaction feels all-consuming and mammoth inside you and it’s crushing – even crippling! When this event occurs, even if it is a small non-event to most, it feels enormous and can literally is paralyze you. This overwhelming physical sensation feels unbearable and on a scale of 1 to 10 – it is 10+! What matters here is how it makes you feel; not the actual situation. Our brains are ancient, so when they perceives a threat, our body … Continue reading Rejection Sensitivity & ADHD

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15 Phrases to Spark a Conversation About Social Dilemmas

Talking about social challenges is never easy. For most parents, the dread of how to begin keeps us from having the conversation at all. Or it turns what could be a series of small breezy chats into an epic conversation akin to a meeting of rival nations at the UN.  Some children simply won’t engage. They do a disappearing act—scattering whenever you bring up anything. 15 phrases to spark a conversation about social dilemmas and situations for your child:  “What does it mean to be a good friend?” Teaching our children to be good friends starts with this question. Ask … Continue reading 15 Phrases to Spark a Conversation About Social Dilemmas

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Top 10 Social Etiquette Faux-Pas During a Pandemic

We’re all figuring this out, yet some of us have adapted to the rules of Pandemic Protection faster and better than others. This is a weird new world, yet community and civility should not be tossed out with our disposable masks! Some people wear masks driving alone in cars, while others claim they “don’t believe in them.” COVID is real, and its effects will last a long time. As a social skills coach, I see all types of behavior as we adjust to this mask-wearing, distancing new normal. Here are my top observations of how to inadequately protect yourself and … Continue reading Top 10 Social Etiquette Faux-Pas During a Pandemic

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What Will the Fall Be Like?

Now is the time for parents to contemplate what fall will look like. None of us knows what to expect, but we can’t just adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Measures should be put into place this summer in preparation for a successful school year. As a social skills coach, I suggest that parents review the social struggles that were most prevalent last year. Did your daughter make friends easily or did she eat alone at lunch? Now would be a good time to ask her if there were people she would like to get to know better. Are there clubs, sports, … Continue reading What Will the Fall Be Like?

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3 Tips to Building Empathy During a Social Crisis

COVID Resource – Are we becoming cruel and self-centered or just oblivious? Let’s face it, we are in a social crisis. Socially distancing is making us exhausted and LONELY. What’s more, on a whole, we are becoming “less nice. Bullying, cruelty and insensitivity may actually be on the rise as we shelter behind our screens. We all witness how cruelty and callousness divides a community – even if it is unintentional. Where we had seen a child burst into tears, or innately sense a rebuff, social distancing has taken away these vital, often non-verbal social exchanges. Empathy is showing compassion, … Continue reading 3 Tips to Building Empathy During a Social Crisis

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Why Will No One Play with Me? made it to the Best ADHD Books of All Time

Why Will No One Play with Me? made it to the Best ADHD Books of All Time   I’m happy to announce that my book, “Why Will No One Play with Me?: The Play Better Plan to Help Kids Make Friends and Thrive”, made it to BookAuthority’s Best ADHD Books of All Time BookAuthority collects and ranks the best books in the world, and it is a great honor to get this kind of recognition. Thank you for all your support! Learn More about Why Will No One Play With Me? The book is available for purchase on Amazon.

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How to Work With a Teen Who Won’t Abide by COVID Rules

It will happen. Maybe more times than you would like. Your teen has had enough of the social distancing and refuses to obey the house rules. You know he is lonely and has a hard time making friends. Should you forbid an in-person union? Should you stay the course and try to guide him through the ups and downs of why being safe is so important? How do you know what to do next? First, forbidding anything can be a tough call, and may backfire. Saying no can make it seem more attractive to your child. Plus, outward disapproval might … Continue reading How to Work With a Teen Who Won’t Abide by COVID Rules

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Virtual Playdates: Can They Really Help Build Social Skills?

Who knew playing at the playground, running on the soccer field or summer camp would be taken for granted? Adults have an easier time staying connected to friends, but kids need to keep in touch just as much, if not more than we do. There are many ways to keep your young one social and active with friends while on lockdown. They can continue to build on the social skills strategies that you’ve been building on over the last several months. Ways to make virtual playdate a success – Determine the social struggle – Ask yourself what your child tends … Continue reading Virtual Playdates: Can They Really Help Build Social Skills?

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Stress tips for Parenting during COVID

Now how many hats are you wearing? Stress tips for Parenting during COVID: Prior to COVID you were crazy busy, but now?… What do you call this new phase? You work from home, discipline the dog, coerce your kids into silence and manage online learning with your kids! Oh yeah, it’s time to start dinner! As many parents continue to home school, the fear of adding camp counselor to your list of positions instills panic. Mom. Dad. You are are physically and emotionally exhausted! Add to that the feeling of being ineffective in multiple realms of your lives. You are … Continue reading Stress tips for Parenting during COVID

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10 Ways to Teach Your Child Social Skills in Daily Life

Some kids learn easily how to navigate any social event and other kids do not. As a parent, you are her original teacher and you are with her day in and day out, so you can help her practice her social skills in daily life. Consider the opportunities in daily life such as standing on the sidelines at a soccer game, playing in the park, shopping in box stores and malls, standing in line at the grocery store, going to barbeques as a chance to be your child’s social skills coach. 10 Ways to Teach Your Child Social Skills In … Continue reading 10 Ways to Teach Your Child Social Skills in Daily Life

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When Your Tween Acts Up During Lockdown

My stuck-at-home 11-year-old spends her off-school hours on the online game platform Roblox. As screen time goes, it’s a pretty safe, kid-friendly and creative option, since with parental controls I’m able to lock down her privacy (that means no chats, ever). But she resists screen time limits, argues about getting off Roblox to do chores and tries to push her bedtime later every night. She is worried about not being able to go back to sleep-away camp this summer. And annoyed that she can only FaceTime her friends, instead of seeing them in real life. I get it. Her reaction … Continue reading When Your Tween Acts Up During Lockdown

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Screen Time & COVID-19: How to Support Teens with ADHD

Connecting with others is essential, and that is especially true for teenagers with ADHD during this unprecedented COVID-19 quarantine. Most teenagers with ADHD, however, spend too much time on electronics, so it is necessary—now more than ever—for parents to engage them in collaborative discussions that lay out expectations. You can use this time—when most of the rules about screen-time limits and appropriate hours for waking and sleeping have gone out the window—to help your teenager practice self-regulation. Soon they will be out on their own, with no parental limits. Learning to coauthor their own limits will help them in the … Continue reading Screen Time & COVID-19: How to Support Teens with ADHD

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5 Ways To Maintain Your Child’s Social Skills During COVID19

Due to COVID-19, government and medical professionals are urging us to stay physically distant and avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. Although parents are being asked to promote physical distance outside of the family, helping children develop social skills is still possible. As busy people, we don’t always make the time to connect with others in our immediate households—social distancing is the perfect time to do this, no? Social skills are life skills, and connection to others is essential to mental and physical health. Helping children feel connection is possible, even without playdates and when school is out of … Continue reading 5 Ways To Maintain Your Child’s Social Skills During COVID19

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Homeschooling During COVID-19

Parents did not choose to homeschool. Many of us are working from home for the first time and some of us have lost jobs—and now with this heightened sense of anxiety, we are expected to teach our children? You’ve prepared for this challenge by purchasing planning calendars, organizing the workspace, and successfully logging onto Zoom and installing a kid-friendly backdrop. Unfortunately, your child is not interested in this type of schooling. Your gut tells you that he is under pressure, in pain, and that no amount of cajoling is going to help—he seems to be struggling and can’t manage the … Continue reading Homeschooling During COVID-19

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Play Better Book Club Training for ADDCA Coaches

Play Better Book Club Training – ONLY for ADDCA Coach Academy Family Graduate Coaches Join me June 10, 2020 at 10am EDT as I step you through the Play Better Book Club for Parents – designed specifically for ADDCA trained certified coaches (coaches like you whom I have trained) to help you implement, market and run the 8 session Book Club either virtually or in-person. Learn how you can help parents, clinicians and mental health experts guide children of all ages, learning challenges and emotional IQs to recognize and address social clues to build lasting friendships. Training Date: June 10, … Continue reading Play Better Book Club Training for ADDCA Coaches

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 13

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, February 3rd, 2020.

This month’s theme is how to pre-plan play dates and vacation socialization for greater success?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 12

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, January 6th, 2020.

This month’s theme is New Years Resolutions!

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 11

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, December 2nd, 2019.

This month’s theme is when kids get tired of help, what do you do?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 10

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, November 4th, 2019.

This month’s theme is how to help a kid learn to join in.

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 9

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019.

Book Launch Month!

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Do I Need to Teach My Kid How to Make A Friend? I Never Needed That Kind of Support, Why Does He?

Some kids learn social behaviors and just fit in and get along with others. And other children really struggle. And here is the paradox if a child does not play well with others then they are invited to play less and then they do not get the crucial opportunity to practice their social skills.

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My Child Can’t Make Friends & Keep Them – What is Wrong With Her?

If They Could, They Would. Children with social skills weaknesses need help learning those basic skills to participate socially so they aren’t doing something wrong and getting pulled off to the bench.

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How Can I Get Through To My Kid That He Has To Stop Arguing With His Teachers So Much

Taking other people’s perspective and understanding that other people have an inner emotional life and being able to detect that point of view is known as Theory of Mind.  When someone has Theory of Mind it means they can detect the perspective, emotions and understand what motivates others….

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Managing Your Love/Hate Relationship With Your ADHD Child

As a parent, you often caught in the middle, trying to balance your own emotions about her poor behavior while also trying to help her have less conflict in her life…

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 8

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, August 5th, 2019.

This month our theme asked back to school narratives. Narratives like “No one in my school is nice” or “smart kids don’t have friends”. How is a child’s narrative or belief in something formed?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 7

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, July 8th, 2019.

This month’s theme was how do you talk about social skill problems with your child?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 6

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, June 3rd, 2019.

This month’s theme was what do when your kid is a bossy rule follower or rule police?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 5

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019.

This month’s theme was how do you help your child manage their emotions rather than their emotions managing them?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 4

Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event hosted on Monday, April 1st, 2019.

This month’s theme is when should I intervene with my child’s friendships? (Example: play dates, reading text messages, etc.)

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Should I Ban My Teen From Seeing “Bad” Friends?

Q: “My teenager is having a rocky time with friendships. Lately, she is choosing questionable friends. These ‘friends’ are not treating her well, and, because of their influence, she seems to be heading in a troubling direction. I don’t like these kids, and I am worried. Do I ban the friendships?”

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 3

We rescheduled our Facebook Live #AskCoachCaroline Event for Monday, March 11th, 2019.

This month our theme was how do you help your child deal with loneliness when they feel left out and say, “I have no friends”?

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 2

My Facebook Live event was at my home office on Monday, January 7, 2019. I’ve posted the entire video here for you to view. You can also go and view it on my Facebook page.

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5 Signs Your Child Is The Classroom Bully

Maybe, in the past, you’ve gotten a phone call from your child’s school. Your son has pushed another kid’s face into some pasta at lunch. He has been reprimanded and is in trouble again. Or you saw your daughter be snarky to other girls at a classmate’s birthday party and heard her say snide things, like “We can see you are a genius” or “I’m trying to picture you with a personality” to other kids.

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Pause Saves The Day!

The PAUSE button has worked for many ADHD children, including Lucy. It is such a powerful tool that I couldn’t help sharing it with you on my blog today. PAUSE encourages children to STOP irregular behavior and access the prefrontal cortex, allowing them to utilize their logical thought processes before acting.

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Managing My Reactions as a Parent

Does parenting a child with ADHD stress you out? It does for me, at times. While I know it’s hard to manage your anger when things feel like they’re spinning out of control, the following tips will help you as a parent manage your anger and move toward a better outcome for both you and your child.

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Raising the Consistently Inconsistent Kid

One way you can identify your child’s lagging skills is by asking yourself the following question: “What is getting in the way of my child’s success?” Start by trying to figure out what the overall reasons are for your child’s inconsistency. Some kids freak out about timed events or tests. Some can’t handle peer pressure. Some don’t understand social boundaries. Some don’t know what to do when they make a mistake, and they fall apart and blow the rest of the race, recital, test, etc.

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Facebook Live Q&A Video 1

My first Facebook Live event was at my home office on Monday, December 3, 2018. I’ve posted the entire event video, but you can also skip to question 6 with the time information below.

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There is Always a Label

People resist diagnoses and labels, but sometimes we need to reframe our thoughts. If the label says that the kid is not willfully being difficult, that he is doing his best but that he cannot boss his body. Then isn’t that a better way to think of someone than to think of them as difficult or challenging?

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How to Motivate Kids Academically with WIFM (What’s in it for Them)

If you have a unique child who is unmotivated academically, consider using the WIFM strategy. Try to figure out what motivates your child. Your child’s motivator doesn’t have to be something that you think is an “acceptable” motivator. What comes up in my sessions all the time is that kids are motivated; they just aren’t motivated by what their parents want them to motivated by.

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Everyone is Working on Something

If you are the parent of one of these unique kids, the negativity is probably starting to get to you. These criticisms may be making you feel stressed, frustrated, or even ashamed by your child’s behavior.  Even though, deep down, you understand that change and growth takes time, you wish you could do something that would make your child “fit in” now so you didn’t have to watch your child struggle with the pain of being different.

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We May Have Eliminated “Last Picked” But Not “Picked On”

Kids are still going to be picked on at school and we should not underestimate the power of that dread. As we are well into the school year, many kids are falling victim to the class bully. Others may be suffering from being left out of the “in” crowd, silently scolded for being different simply by the fact that they are on the periphery and are not welcomed into a group.

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The White Noise Experience: An Answer to Getting Work Done

I had seen this phenomenon work for some of my other ADHD clients as well. White noise helped them focus when nothing else worked. When I was prepping to talk about this subject on Attention Talk Radio, my co-host, Jeff Copper, said, “Oh yeah. That works for me too. I call it the white noise experience.” Now, I use Copper’s term to describe this tool I have used with my kids consistently over the last decade.

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As Parents Are We Doing Enough?

People are having a lot of conversation about the bullying epidemic on social media and coffee shops these days. On the other hand, many parents are washing their hands of the problem, as if to say, “I see it going on around me, but it’s not happening in my house”.

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The Little Red Table

I dreaded reading time. By the second grade, I had a problem: I was in the slowest reading group. Each reading group sat at a colored table. These primary colors were like banners announcing each student’s reading level. Blue was for the best readers. Yellow was for mid-level readers. And red was for the slowest readers.

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My child is shy and refuses to play with new kids.

My child won’t join anything and refuses to try to play with new kids- she is so shy and says it is too hard. But in life we have to approach other people.

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A Castle with Walls Too Thick to Penetrate

Avoidance is a sign. Not a sign that the child does not care. Or a sign that he lacks motivation, is resistant, or is just uninterested in having friends, but a sign that he does not know how to break down the barriers so he can participate, or “join in”. Without a roadmap or help with his social plan, children and teenagers often shut down.  

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My teenage son disappears into the basement and never engages with us.

My teenage son just disappears into the basement and he never engages with us. He plays video games all the time. When I try to talk about it he says he has virtual friends. He has never had good social skills. What do I do?

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Birthday Parties, the Cafeteria, and Other Social Obstacles

You don’t need to helicopter to help your middle-schooler make friends in fact, too much interference can do more harm than good. Follow these strategies to boost your tween’s confidence.

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My daughter is avoiding everything this year.

My daughter is avoiding everything this year. She seems to be sad, she is missing the bus on purpose and asking to be home schooled. I think this has to do with friends. But when I ask her she says she is fine. What do I do?

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Madame Ruggles

Kids will have so many different teachers throughout their young academic years – all with different teaching styles, different ways they relate to each child, some in their first years of teaching, some growing close to retirement, some good, and some bad. But we’ve all heard the stories about the one teacher that made a difference, and they may not have even known it.

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What if my child won’t even discuss getting help for social skills?

When children are resistant it often means that the activity is hard for her. To help your child be more comfortable, you will likely have many conversations with her. We often talk about “paving the way” for a conversation that we anticipate will be sensitive or difficult.

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Your Child Isn’t Defiant — His Skills Are Lagging

“If he could, he would.” Children with ADHD don’t always act rudely or awkwardly on purpose — sometimes, they simply lack the executive function skills to keep up with confusing social norms and fast-paced conversations. Here’s how parents can reframe these social challenges and better bolster weak skills.

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The Giant Paddington Bear

Aiden was bright, intuitive, and the largest 5-year-old on record. Because of his size and his hyperactivity, he create a kind of tilt-a-whirl effect wherever he went. When he bumped a shelf at a small shop, it would cause seismic shifts. 

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How Tweens Can Trigger Mom’s ADHD Symptoms — and How to Keep Your Cool

Being a mom with ADHD is already a precarious balancing act. But add a tween’s hormone-fueled emotions and thirst for independence to the mix, and it may be harder than ever for Mom to manage her own symptoms. Take control of your child’s behaviors — and your ADHD — with these strategies.

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