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NOTE FROM CAROLYN:  By now you’ve probably seen the Meridian ads with the cute school children introducing our new “Settle Down” herbal product.  This product is for adults and children who struggle at home and school with focus, distraction and restlessness.

If you or your child experience difficulty settling down to work or to sleep, this information and product may be of great interest.  Sufficient nutrients to the adrenal glands is the key!  For many, this is a simple way to address stress and restlessness naturally and without harsh medications. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Also! Our End of Summer Sale 10%Off + Freebie Sale for My Miracle Detox continues through Wednesday, September 5.  All orders will receive a FREE sample of this new “Settle Down” product.
CLICK HERE 

Hello, September! Labor Day is the legal holiday celebrating American workers and officially marks the end of summer. But it’s not the only fun and special day to celebrate this month:

September 9 is a double fun:  It’s Grandparents Day and National Teddy Bear Day
September 16 is National Play-Doh Day
September 19 is International “Talk Like A Pirate Day”

Those might make you want to be a child again, although the real deal of September for families with children is settling into school…. which may or may not be everyone’s favorite time of the year:

That old commercial from the 90’s (when our children were in elementary school still makes me laugh, Truthfully, however, getting settled into school is no laughing or easy matter.

Are September? Born Children Smarter?  How Can I Help My Child?

There is now proven research to indicate that children born in September are statistically more successful in school than their peers born between January and August.  They are also less likely to be incarcerated.  The full study is in a link at the bottom, but the summary is that of 12 million children tested in Florida, ages kindergarten through college, those born in September or after did better in both cognitive and social interaction evaluations. Of the many elements analyzed (including socio-economic factors, parental involvement, etc.), the most important factor was the age of the child when starting Kindergarten.  In the study, a school-mandated cut-off birthdate of September 1 for starting Kindergarten meant that children born September 1 or after were required to wait a full year before starting school.  These children had nearly a full-year advantage of maturity and size over their January-through August born classmates.

We experienced that first-hand with our oldest daughter whose birthday met the cut-off date by only a day. We were given the option to start Kindergarten or wait a year. She was very bright and we thought fully capable.  Another year at home and pre-school seemed unnecessary and burdensome, We debated back and forth until a dear friend who had taught upper grades in elementary school for many years said,

Do her a big favor and wait! Please wait!  I taught 5th and 6th grade and watched these children, who ARE bright enough to do well in the first few years. It will not start to show until she reaches ages 10, 11 and 12.  Yes, these later-born children are as smart as the others and can keep up academically, but they often do not thrive socially and emotionally because they’re literally a year behind their peers. I’ve watched it too many times where these younger students start to lag – emotionally. Sociallyand physically —  in 5th and 6th grades.  They are then snubbed by their classmates, which is the most difficult and heart-breaking part of it all. Sometimes this causes their schoolwork and confidence to decline. These avoidable problems begin when they are headed toward adolescence and the challenging middle-school and high school years.  They need every boost they can get and age is one of them. You won’t be sorry in the long-run if you wait.

We took her advice and waited that extra year. Our daughter was a super-star from Kindergarten throughout High School and beyond as was our next child with a December birthday.  Our next two children were May babies and started school on time without the extra year.  They were also successful, but after watching our older children, there was no doubt that the extra time for their siblings had paid huge dividends in many ways.

How can we help all our children, no matter their birth month, thrive in school and settle down in September?  Especially kids who have focus and distraction challenges?

Enter Dr. Edward Hallowell, a child and adult psychiatrist. whose specialty is child and adult ADD and ADHD.  He speaks, writes and teaches about focus, distraction and strategies to manage our own over-loaded lives. If you or a child struggle with these issues, his website may be of great value to you!  His book “The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness” is most intriguing and one I intend to read and report on soon.  The following list includes a number of suggestions from his website, www.DrHallowell.com.

Your Child’s Best School Year – Especially A Child With Distraction Challenges

1.  Include the Lord: September Priesthood Blessings, Computers and  FamilyDinners

A special Priesthood or Father’s blessing during the early part of the school year from the father or Ministering Brother for every child is a beautiful way to start the school year.  This experience is empowering for the entire family and brings a spiritual encouragement into the home that says “School is important!  You are important! The Lord and your family are here to help!”

Controlling the time spent and the electronics used for education and entertainment cannot be left to “luck.”  Work with the Lord for inspiration, along with your spouse and your children to determine what electronic devices and what amount of time with them is acceptable and good for each member of your family.

Family Togetherness With Meals, Prayer and Scriptures:  Family dinner is one of the highest predictors of high SAT scores! Take the time to have family dinner and connect with each other. Driving in the car is another great way to connect with your kids. Spending time anywhere is important!  Family dinners, family prayer and  family scripture – even if it’s just a verse or two will play a huge role in a successful school year.

2.  Family Councils and Notebooks

We can follow the counsel of Elder M. Russell Ballard and start the school year right with a set time each week to sit down and “begin with the end in mind” for each new week.  Click HERE to read this important advice given in General Conference about family councils.

We can sit down with our spouse regularly to discuss each child and how things are going. Evaluate and decide what you, as parents and advocates, can do to support and improve your child’s success, behavior and progress.  Then do the same with your child.  This can be a warm and friendly time that lets them know you’re in their court!  Add a little healthy treat and it’s something you’ll all look forward to!

My husband did these as Daddy interviews on Sunday afternoons with simple questions and a little notebook starting at about age 4. Now that our children are adults, this is one of their favorite memories of growing up.  Those little notebooks are priceless!

I follow the blog of a neat little gal who has made back-to-school printables for getting a great school year started.  Her link is at the bottom and may be just right  to create 3-ring binders or notebooks for these  family councils.  You can check this out at the link below.

3. A Healthy Diet.

While it seems obvious enough, children need the basics of good nutrition to feel good physically so they can perform and succeed mentally and socially.  Study up and learn the basics of nutrition and help your child learn to understand that foods control more than just being full or hungry. They contribute to how we feel emotionally and our ability to control our actions and speech.  Help them discover and see that foods and drinks that are loaded with sugar and artificial colors lead to not feeling good mentally or physically. Find out what they are eating at school. If they are at a school or class where there is lots of sugar offered in classroom treats and snacks, encourage them to self-limit, then compensate by limiting it at home.

Please note: Milk is often related to common physical challenges for adults and children that are easily addressed with alternative foods that are affordable to purchase and readily available at every grocery store.  A diet that is rich in these foods will provide plenty of calcium and critical body building nutrients. Though this is an unpopular, controversial topic I urge you to spend some time on this and decide for yourself.

4. Be Your Child’s Advocate By Becoming A Partner With Your Child’s Teacher.

Don’t go in with a set of things you “want” from the teacher. Their time, resources and a full classroom of children makes theirs a very challenging job.. Go in with the goal of creating a relationship that will support your child. Consider regularly helping out in class. Treat your child’s teacher as the professional she/he is.  If your child is really struggling, consider talking with the teacher about having a home-to-school notebook for quick comments on daily basis and easy communications.

Our daughter-in-law is a very successful first grade teacher. Invariably her most challenging students are those whose parents are nowhere in sight, even for private scheduled Parent-Teacher conferences. Your supportive, positive involvement may make all the difference in your child’s classroom success.

5. Build Confidence.

Provide opportunities and set your child up to make progress on something that matters to him/her. This builds confidence and motivation. (For more on building confidence, see the book “The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness” by Dr. Hallowell.)

6. Develop and Be Consistent With Simple Rules and Schedules.

With all children, but particularly with kids with focus and distraction challenges, simple and consistent rules are the best.  This is true of the classroom and at home. For example, always treat others with respect is a simple rule that can be applied to many situations.

Create a predictable schedule at school and at home. Kids thrive in situations that have enough predictability that they don’t need to guess about what is coming next (this does not mean “boring” though!) Give warnings about upcoming transitions from one activity to another.

7. Adequate Sleep.

An important part of that schedule is a reasonable bed-time schedule and getting enough sleep. Lovingly enforce that with pleasant but firm bed-time routines.  Not respecting that schedule and honoring the routine means not respecting our children’s genuine needs. Get your kids into bed early, if at all possible.  Our “Settle Down” product is excellent for settling down and staying asleep.  It is safe for even very young children. USE AFFILIATE LINK

8.  Positive Feedback.

Monitor progress often and give happy feedback often. Make sure to give positive feedback when it is deserved. Don’t fake it, though. Kids know whether or not you are just trying to puff them up.

9. Getting Rid of Shame and Fear. 

The greatest learning disorder of all is fear. All kids, and this includes kids with ADHD, need to feel emotionally safe in the classroom and at home. Talk with your child about his or her classroom and social experiences to make sure this is happening.

10. Escape Valves.

 All kids need escape valves. At school, make sure they are provided with enough time to get up from desk, walk around, have recess, bring some physical activity into what they are doing.  At home, make sure there are opportunities to play outdoors and that they have adequate private time to simply be a child.

President Nelson says that “good inspiration comes from good information!” I hope that these ten tips and additional resources will be helpful inspiration for a truly successfully year for your family and children.

LINKS: 

September Children Are Smarter Study
CLICK HERE for more information and the full PDF of the study.

Back-To-School Printables for Getting and Staying Organize.
CLICK HERE
Dr. Hallowell books, articles and research for children and adults,
CLICK HERE

Just Settle Down:  Our new herbal product for addressing restlessness, focus, distraction, “busy brain,” “mind chatter” etc. for better performance at work, home school and sleeping at night.
CLICK HERE

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine for 11 years,  providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999.  She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson, Tennessee, close to Memphis, where they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. CLICK HERE