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At a Glance: Helping Kids With Learning and Attention Issues Handle Family Visits

By Erica Patino

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When visiting family and friends, kids with learning and attention issues may struggle with basic social skills like making conversation. Here’s how to help your child handle common problems that might arise during visits.

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At a Glance: Common Problems During Visits and How to Handle Them

Does your child struggle with social skills when she’s visiting others? Here are some common problems kid with learning and attention issues may have during visits—and ways you can help.

Joining a Conversation

Why this can be a problem:
Your child may do OK with routine small talk like “How are you?” But she may struggle with free-flowing conversations, such as a discussion of a recent family vacation.
What you can do:
To encourage your child to join in the conversation, suggest a specific topic that excites and engages her. Try something like, “Tell us about that strange animal you saw on the day hike.”

Participating in Games
Why this can be a problem:
Your child may not know how to play kickball or other games at a friend’s barbecue. She may not be comfortable asking the group how to play, so she goes off by herself.
What you can do:
If she gets frustrated about not being able to join in, take her aside and show her how the game works. Help her practice what to say, rehearsing phrases like “Can I join your game now?”

Taking Turns and Sharing

Why this can be a problem:
Your child may not understand that it’s someone else’s turn on the backyard trampoline. She may push past the other kids and upset them without noticing.
What you can do:
You can say, “It’ll be your turn again when Emily is done.” You could suggest that each child jump for 30 seconds while the other kids count aloud to 30.

Trying New Activities and Foods
Why this can be a problem:
Your child may have difficulty controlling her impulses and may not realize her behavior is hurtful, such as telling the hostess that her deviled eggs look gross.
What you can do:
Explain how deviled eggs are made and offer her a bite of yours. Then calmly say, “You may have hurt Aunt Pam’s feelings, so let’s tell her ‘I’m sorry.’”
Graphic of At a Glance: Helping Kids With Learning and Attention Issues Handle Family Visits
Graphic of At a Glance: Helping Kids With Learning and Attention Issues Handle Family Visits

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About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

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Reviewed by Elizabeth Harstad, M.D., M.P.H. May 03, 2014 May 03, 2014

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