Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Give your child the lay of the land.

What you can do

Make sure your child understands the physical layout of her school, playing fields, party venues and other activities. This will help make her less anxious about participating.

Walk around the ball field or visit the art studio before the first session. Point out which door you use to enter the building for the activity. Show her where you’ll meet up when it’s finished. Make sure she knows where the bathrooms are and who can help her if she needs anything.

Another way to help maximize her enjoyment is to speak ahead of time with the coach or activity leader about your child’s strengths and issues.

What you can say

“Sofia, I’m glad to hear you sound so excited about the River Science Club. Where will you all go next week exactly? I’d like to take a look at that part of the river with you a couple of days before the field trip. This way we’ll know whether it’s rocky or muddy and what kind of shoes you should wear.”

“I think I’ll also send Mr. Mullen an email or call him to find out what the club will be doing at each meeting this fall. I also want to tell him a little about you. Then we’ll be sure that we’re prepared and that he’s prepared to have you in the club as well.”

Why this will help

Nothing seems to make kids become really frustrated and give up more easily than feeling uncomfortable with their overall understanding about an activity. This includes knowing what equipment they’ll need and how they’ll be expected to use it. And of course it’s hard to focus on the activity when you’re worried about where the bathroom is!

Becoming familiar ahead of time with the location and format of a new activity will ease your child’s anxiety and help her feel more confident about participating. This confidence will help increase her sense of success with the activity and her willingness to stick with it.

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