Homework for kids is like having school, after school. It's comparable to your taking work home after an 8 hour work day, with 2-3 more hours of work to do by tomorrow. On top of that, children don't have the brain development for that level of seated focus for any given day. Kids require self-initiated movement, fun, and multi-sensory experiences. That said, there are ways to improve the homework experience, and to help your children enjoy the continued learning process, which is a welcome and achievable goal.
The homework demand is increasing every year and because of this more and more children are struggling to focus, to enjoy learning and to implement the teachings that the homework is supposed to reinforce.
This course is for parents of children of all ages who are struggling with homework, with staying focused in school and staying on top of their grades.
If your child has attention issues, acts out, in or out of school, is finding it difficult to follow your directions, then you and your family will benefit from taking this training.
At the end of this training you will have:
Find out the importance of homework and also the negative effects it can have on children's learning experience.
In this lesson Bek will have you complete a questionnaire describing your goals and your child's goals regarding homework routines and challenges.
This lesson focuses on your child's developmental needs regarding health, communication, social interaction and self-regulation.
This lesson is the continuation and completion of the previous lesson.
Here you'll learn how to manage your child's attention through arousal --the neurological measure of attention and alertness. Find your child's moderate arousal zone for maximum attention.
A continuation and completing of the last lesson.
This lesson is about movement and learning and what makes movement essential to conflict-free homework time.
Bek talks about positive discipline and ways to improve your relationship with your child and eliminate power struggles by being lovingly objective.
Continuation and completion of the last lesson.
This crucial lesson will teach you how to redirect your child's focus without bribes or punishment.
Bek reviews the 7 steps you have learned to help your child become a happy successful, productive, curious, peaceful and interesting person.
Proprioceptive and Vestibular
Proprioceptive and vestibular are sensations that come into the body. Maybe your child has problems with attention, behavior, sleep, or development. It would then be good to use proprioceptive and vestibular sensations and experiences to bring in more organizational information for them to respond to in a way that is functional in their environment.
Maybe they have motor coordination issues or maybe they're having power struggles with you, and when they go to school they have a hard time paying attention, cooperating, walking in line, and following directions. These kids are having difficulty managing the sensations that are coming into their body.
Proprioceptive is a neurological sensation through the body's large joints and muscles, relating to stimuli that are produced and perceived within the body, especially those connected with the position and movement of the body. All that deep pressure goes into the brain and informs the body.
Children require a lot of proprioceptive information to develop not only general fitness but also to develop the ability to self-manage their behavior and learn about their own physical boundaries in the world. Some children need more input than others, for instance if they are hitting other kids, falling out of chairs, etc. Proprioceptive can help reduce panic and distress. Examples of proprioceptive activities would be jumping on a trampoline, lycra swings, push-ups, yoga, crawling and lifting and carrying things.
The vestibular system in most mammals is the sensory system that provides the leading contribution about the sense of balance and spatial orientation for the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. The vestibular nerve is part of the auditory nerve in the inner ear. You might notice if you stand on one foot and close your eyes that it's a little harder to balance, because your vision and eye movements help balance your body. With a healthy vestibular system you'll be able to do balance challenges with your eyes closed. Children who fall over standing on one foot with their eyes closed are having difficulty with an immature vestibular system.
Bek Wiltbank encourages you to support your child's development by giving them proprioceptive and vestibular experiences. Make this a part of the way you look at your child's day.
Your Reaction Makes the Difference
In this video Bek Wiltbank, pediatric occupational therapist, talks about reactivity, expanding on the discussion in her popular program Conflict-Free Homework Time. In the program she describes the reactive state that a parent and child can get into which becomes a power struggle. The way to reduce the reactivity and impulsivity in children is to let go of your own reactivity and impulsivity, because you are the grownup, the one who has the ability to self-manage.
The way we teach children is through example and through coaching. Start a conversation something like this: “I see that you're feeling upset and you're automatically throwing things, but I'm going to show you that even though this upset feeling is happening in your mind, you can say I'm feeling this way but I'm going to choose a different behavior.
You take a breath and count to 10, then you choose how to respond.” You say “Why don't you want to do your homework?” or “It's really best if you do your homework. Let's talk about how we can get it done, or let's take a movement break.”
Reactivity vs. Response
A reaction is an automatic behavior and a response means you're taking the time to consider what you want to say and do. A thoughtful response equals mindfulness and compassion. These are the things we want our children to learn so they'll become functional, thoughtful, caring adults. We have to demonstrate through our own behavior how to do something. You say “You don't want to do your homework?
I feel frustrated” or “I feel angry.” You don't act on the frustration and anger. You tell them the feeling and you say “I need to take 5 deep breaths.” You're really showing them how to self-manage. You give them some power in choosing the when, where and how of the homework so they have the hope or belief that they can affect their environment. You'll have them coming back from reactivity and moving into response.
The CEO of the Brain
In this video Bek Wiltbank, pediatric occupational therapist, explains executive function. You may have heard about executive function from your child's teacher at school, from a psychiatrist or psychologist, or from your child's therapist. Executive function is regulated by the brain's prefrontal cortex. It is basically the air traffic controller of your brain. It's the manager, the CEO. It's the part that allows for impulse control, that monitors information coming in and behavior going out. It helps you multitask and plan for the future. In your child's case it's the part of the brain that says, okay my mom told me to put on my shoes and socks and get in the car. Without executive function they can't follow those steps and you wonder why they're not in the car when you gave them clear instructions. It's the part of the brain that says okay I'm not supposed to hit my sister. She just hit me but I won't hit her back because there will be that consequence. If a child has impaired executive function, they're in a reactionary state, acting like smaller organisms –e.g. dogs, cats, or fish—that don't have executive function.
Teach Your Child to Self-Regulate
The way to teach executive function is by being the executive function. When you have a baby you're obviously responsible for the executive function of that child. When the baby develops into a child we assume they will pick up those self-management techniques and know how to multi-task, self-regulate, have self-restraint, and be able to follow multi-step directions. If you're seeing problem behaviors and difficulty with attention, you will really want to make sure you continue to co-regulate or take over the executive function for them until they can appropriately take it over for themselves. Ultimately what we want is for the child to have autonomy, and by autonomy Bek means they've learned how to manage their attention and their arousal. As they're getting to be 8,9,10, 11 years old they're more independent and autonomous in their self-care, school work and social relationships. When they come into their teen years and they're out and about with their friends, they'll really be able to manage their behavior in those situations. They'll remember what happened last time and decide to do it differently this time. That's executive function.
Is your child experiencing difficulty with their development or daily function?
Do you need help figuring out why your child is having trouble with focus, cooperation, sleep, breast feeding, or behavior?
Bek Wiltbank is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist who earned her Master's of Occupational Therapy from the University of Washington. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Neuropsychology at Oregon State. Bek has been working with children either in her clinics or in the classroom setting for over 12 years. Bek has been teaching continuing education to OTs for over 3 years as well as leading trainings both live and online for parents.
Bek Is An Experienced Teacher
She has taught hundreds of therapists and teachers in 21 cities about reducing anxiety and problem behaviors in children. She has worked as a school-based OT and in Early Intervention in Washington State. She currently provides consultation to private and public schools regarding IEPs and sensory integration solutions for the classroom.
Bek currently provides structural therapy to children from birth to teen in her private practice, as well as adults. Over the years Bek has developed methods and practices that allow the children on her caseload to make more efficient gains in their developmental therapies with OT, PT and SLP services. She provides services within the insurance model, and is an agent of change in healthcare, by working to bridge the worlds of allopathic and holistic healthcare.
Empowering & Teaching
Her passion lies in empowering and teaching parents, teachers, therapists and guardians all of the tools she has mastered for helping children and teens be the best they can be, both at home and in school.