I don’t do spontaneous.
I am anxious and prefer to have a sense of control in my life. I like to live a predictable life. I want to know what to expect. Consequences need to be consistent and immediate. I like simple, boring and predictable because I am anxious and it makes me feel less anxious. It makes me feel normal. Two ways that I do that is setting limits and creating lists and routines. This not only helps me deal with everyday, but it also helps my anxious child to deal with everyday.
Setting limits can be a challenge for parents, especially when the anxious child or teen becomes upset, moody or has a “meltdown”. If I set limits and enforce consequences not only do I feel more secure, so does my child.
Routines also help to reduce anxiety, but I have found that my anxiety can disrupt routines. I have worked hard at creating/building family routines so life is more predictable for everyone in the family.
I make schedules for the fridge and it helps provide a sense of control and order. Here are one of my routines (my husband finds all of them silly).
This needs to be a regular part of the schedule, as anxious children tend to put things off and as an anxious parent I need to write things down to avoid putting them off myself.
After school we have lunch and then some down time. We relax and get rid of the stress of the day.
Homework starts at 15h00, but on days that she has sport practise we start at 16h00 and we work at the dining room table without any distractions. We finish a task and then take a break – we stretch our legs and then continue with work. This process tends to take anything between 30min – 60min.
We also schedule extra work – like preparing for exams and practising things that she struggles with. This process tends to take anything between 30min – 60min. (but we try not to do this if we only start with homework at 16h00)
If it is a hard day of homework, I tend to agree on a post-homework activity, to give her something to look forward to and encourage her to finish. It always depends on what kind of child you have, but Amandalynn loves playing hockey, dancing, taking a nap, etc. Let them choose their activity or make a list of short but doable activities then let your child pick one as a reward.
How much time do you put into homework and preparing for exams? Do you leave your child to do it on their own or do you have a child like mine that needs a little bit extra just to cope.
**Note: I am not a medical professional, but just a parent looking to understand my child better and searching for better methods to help her.
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