Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Develop a family mantra.

What you can do

Develop and use a family mantra about stick-to-itiveness. Ask all family members to repeat the mantra at home when a task is difficult or unpleasant.

Share the family mantra with your child’s teacher, coach or activity leader so your child will encounter consistency between home, school and other activities.

What you can say

“Jacob, do you remember The Little Engine That Could? Do you remember what the little blue engine kept saying as it was climbing up the hill? ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.’ Saying that over and over again helped the little engine pull that heavy train up the hill.”

“Our family has a similar slogan. Every time any one of us faces a difficult task, we say ‘I can do this,’ and it seems to help. You seem to be having some trouble putting your toys away, and I think that the family slogan will help you too. Let’s try it today when you’re finished playing, OK? What are you going to chant? Good.”

Why this will help

Using a family mantra will show your child that everyone encounters difficulties at some point. Everyone feels frustrated or fearful and needs to keep trying. Having the whole family use the slogan will also help your child become more comfortable saying it to himself at school and other places. Using the mantra frequently at home can help it become a natural response to a challenging situation in any setting.

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