The Alberni Valley News introduces a new columnist, Dr. Danielle Renaud.
Dr. Renaud helps parents deal with both everyday and unusual parenting and family issues. She specializes in problem behaviour with all children – especially those with learning, behavioural and developmental challenges.
Dr. Renaud works with families in their homes and also consults in schools. She is now in private practice in Port Alberni.
Her column will run once a month, but is not meant to provide therapy.
Dear Dr. Renaud:
I have a huge problem with my eight-year-old daughter: getting her ready and to school on time. We have huge battles over getting dressed, eating and getting out the door in the morning.
Don’t be distressed, I can help you with this situation. Unfortunately, you have fallen into the trap that many parents fall into – giving too much power and control to a child, who is not mature enough to handle it.
What is required here is a plan.
First, you need a morning schedule with times on it for each part of getting ready – one that you make together with your daughter.
Start with arriving at school on time – at 8:50 for a 9 a.m. start, for example – and work backward.
Discuss and decide together how much time each activity requires.
For example, how long it takes to walk to school – no driving her if it is close, she needs the walk.
Then back up again and add in getting dressed – 15 minutes. She must pick out three outfits the night before and can only choose from those in the morning.
Next, breakfast – 20 minutes, and continue to work backward until you arrive at the time that she needs to get up. Make the schedule together on a large piece of Bristol board or coloured cardstock and post it on the fridge (so it can be easily viewed).
Draw clocks beside each activity with the hands positioned where they need to be for each part of the schedule – for example – 8:00, 8:15, etc.
This is a great activity for the two of you to do together as it will give you the opportunity to discuss, debate, disagree and then agree. These are all good ways to develop and to strengthen communication between you and will give you the framework in which to work through other issues.
Let me know how it goes.
Dr. Danielle Renaud welcomes all letters. For more information, please contact her at 778-421-1925 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.