Why does my mind fly to the sky, and think of fairies and mermaids and frogs? Sadie feels like her thoughts are soaring into the clouds and she can't bring them back down to earth. She has trouble paying attention, which makes keeping track of schoolwork, friends, chores, and everything else really tough. Sometimes she can only focus on her mistakes. Hear author Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT, read My Wandering Dreaming Mind aloud and find out how Sadie's parents help her see how amazing she is. Click here to read an excerpt from the Note to Parents and Caregivers that provides strategies to help your child focus on the positive aspects of their dreaming, creative mind and to keep trying when things don't go their way.Read More
About Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFTMerriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT, is a psychotherapist who specializes in helping families of children with autism spectrum disorder, AD/HD, and learning disabilities. She lives in Northern California.
... motivation to change behavior is far more impacted by praise and positivity than by criticism and negativity Distance learning poses a big challenge for school kids during the pandemic. They’ve lost easy access to their teachers, resources, familiar routines and settings, and to their friends. For children with learning differences, they’ve also lost the accommodations and strategies implemented by the schools to support their learning. Many kids will experience frustration and discouragement as they try to learn online. Children with attentional issues may find distance learning especially difficult and demoralizing. As a parent, you’ll need to not only facilitate their learning, but help them stay positive about learning and their abilities as they navigate this new situation. This excerpt from Magination Press book, My Wandering Dreaming Mind by Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT, provides strategies you can use to help your child focus on the positive and keep trying when their efforts don’t quite go the way they hoped. The invisible problem A child with attentional issues is typically unaware when they are daydreaming or forgetting, so they are unable to prevent it. When a child experiences constant correction for executive functioning that is outside their control, they may begin to internalize the frequent reprimands. So if the behavior is undesirable, they conclude that they must also be undesirable. Focus on genuine positives It’s well established that motivation to change behavior is far more impacted by praise and positivity than by criticism and negativity. Setting expectations and noticing even small, positive things a child does every day can empower them to want to meet those expectations. For a child with attentional issues, it can be empowering to point out that their brain sometimes operates differently, which is why they may struggle, but because children often find alternate ways of coping, sometimes drawbacks of executive functioning issues can be flipped to a positive. But—children have great radar and can sense when an adult is inauthentic! It’s important to provide positive feedback that is genuine and unique to your child. Think about the way your child moves through the world. Are there behaviors like daydreaming that can be thought of positively—such as being curious or imaginative? Emphasize those positives by encouraging activities that strengthen them. If they are curious, what are they curious about? If checking out library books on the topic isn’t an option, try helping your child research the topic online or reach out to family or friends who might know about it. Note aloud the amazing things your child’s curiosity uncovers. If your child is forgetful, perhaps it is because their mind is so busy! Ask your child what’s on their mind—you may discover something you didn’t realize, and you’ll help them begin a practice of self-awareness by being mindful of their thoughts and behavior. If they daydream, you may find that their imagination is a spectacular thing, filled with creativity and joy. Perhaps they are artistic or tell wonderful stories. Give them a sketchbook to draw orRead More