Healthy Habits and Routines


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    • #11251
      Natalie Nue

      Hi! My daughter is 9 years old and I can not get her to slow down and remember to push drawers in, put things back where they belong so someone else can find/use them too (esp scissors), and in general tidy up her space before moving onto a new task. I have tried charts, apps and daily nagging. Nothing is working please help! Thanks!

    • #11312
      Sarah Fuller

      Hi Natalie! Oh my, this is such a frustrating problem. I hear that you have tried so many different things and nothing seems to work. It feels so defeating to try everything we can think of without any success.

      Before exploring solutions, I’d like to offer a bit of insight into what is likely driving this behavior. It sounds from reading this that you are saying your child is having a hard time with impulse control. She is done with one activity and is struggling to slow down enough to fully complete clean up before moving on. While this process sounds intuitive to most of us adults, it is actually a skill that must be learned. At nine, your girl’s brain is still developing. Impulse control is one of the later skills to develop as kids grow up, which is why we tend to see young adults making many rash decisions.

      With all of that said, there is still much we can do to help facilitate the growth of impulse control. I love making games with kids to help them practice slowing down and thinking before acting. Simple games like red light/green light are perfect. I often do a game of catch with kids where the ball is only to be thrown back when the receiver makes an agreed upon cue, such as locking eye contact, nodding, or saying “I’m ready.” Of course, in this activity when there is a mess up, it should be all giggles and retry rather than making a big deal of it or shaming. I’d also like to suggest exploring Yoga and mindfulness exercises with her. There are great kid-centric resources on YouTube. These are just a few ideas of activities to help her be better able to “practice the pause” and learn to stop, relax, and think before acting.

      It takes time to build impulse control. For helping in the moment, I’d like to offer an alternative to make things fun. I’m wondering if you and your daughter can come up with a fun, silly song to remind her when we finish with a task we stop to check that it’s all cleaned up. As you come toward the end of crafting together or other fun activities, you can start singing it with her and gently guide to make sure the scissors or other material is put back completely. The more you make it into a cooperative effort where you are supporting her in building a skill and will help her out without fear of punishment when she falls short, but the more her brain will be in a balanced and connected place to be able to practice the impulse control you are looking for.

      Please keep us posted on what works for you. I hope this helps.


    • #11313
      Natalie Nue

      Oh thank you! I will try these ideas and be more patient and do it with her. I just realized when I hit 10 was when my mom went very hands off with me and I started fending for myself a lot so I think that’s where some of the confusion is coming from on my end. Thank you for this!

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