10 Products to Help Kids Focus

With the stress of standardized testing and a fast paced educational environment in our schools, it is no wonder more kids are exhibiting signs of ADHD and anxiety. There are less exercise times, such as recess being slowly taken away from the elementary children who need that mid-day break to release energy. The pressure is on for kids, parents and teachers to figure out how to get kids to focus when school is simply more demanding than ever.

10 Products to Help Kids Focus

What Parents & Teachers Can Do

You can do a couple of things as a parent or teacher in this day in age, you can just make excuses and blame the system for your child’s lack of focus or you can look into ways that you can help your child increase focus and release stress in healthy ways. Today I wanted to share 10 products that will help kids focus because there’s an increase in simple, affordable products that will truly help your child regain control of their mind and in turn succeed in school regardless of the pressure placed upon them.

10 Products to Help Kids Focus from Amazon.com

10 Products to Help Kids Focus

  1. Wukelili Tri Fidget Hand Spinner, Ultra Fast Bearings, Finger Toy, Great Gift for ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, and Autism Adult ChildrenWhite
  2. Fidget Hand Spinner,Vafru 360 Degree Rotation Fidget Tri Spinner Hand Toy Kit for Relieving ADHD, Anxiety, Boredom Spins
  3. Fidget Spinner, Vafru Hand Spinner Toy, Fast Bearing EDC Focus Toy for Killing Time Relieves Stress And Anxiety And Relax for Children and Adults Precision Copper Material
  4. AMILIFE EDC Fidget Spinner High Speed Stainless Steel Bearing ADHD Focus Anxiety Relief Toys
  5. GongFu Star Fidget Spinner Toy Time Killer Perfect to relieve ADHD Anxiety Reduce Stress Helps Focus White, Fidget Spinner

 

  1. 10 Products to Help Kids FocusThe Anti-Anxiety Spinners Help to Relieve Stress, Premium Fidget Toys with High Speed Bearing for Kids & Adults, Best Stress Reliever to Focus, ADHD Anxiety Stress Reducer Black & Blue
  2. FabQuality Cube 12 Sides Anxiety Attention Toy With Minion Key Chain Gift + eBook Included – Relieves Stress And Anxiety And Relax for Children and Adults BONUS EBOOK is sent by email

10 Products to Help Kids Focus

  1. Yeahbeer Hand Fidget Spinner Toy Stress Reducer and Perfect For ADD, ADHD ,Finger Toy fidget work Ultra Fast Bearings Camouflage green
  2. D-JOY Tri-Spinner Fidget Toy Hand Spinner Camouflage, Stress Reducer Relieve Anxiety and Boredom Camo Starry sky
  3. Anxiety Stress Relief Fidget Cube: Calming Toy for Focus, Relaxation, Distraction & Improved Mood – Aids Depression, Worry & Fear – Perfect Gift for Autism, Anger, ADD, ADHD & PTSD BlackGreen

Parenting is all About Instincts

I am on a kick this week writing about gut instincts, seriously head on over to BrandyEllen.com to read more on dreams and instincts this week. With that being said, I wanted to take a moment to write about parenting and how it is all about instincts. You see, we can read all of the parenting books out there; we can listen to the advice of our elders. We can go on and on trying to be told or determine what we should be doing at parents but at the end of the day, it’s all about our instincts as a parental unit to our child.

Ever wonder what grandparents bring to the table? I was lucky to have great grandparents and still do, but some don't. Here's 5 Reasons Grandparents Matter.

While I am often found lending advice or saying what works for me, how I have seen my autistic son grow with age, this isn’t the case for other parents. We all live in different environments; we all have different morals, values and beliefs. Every single family on this Earth is unique and that is what makes the world we live in so beautiful. In my opinion.

Okay back on topic … parenting is all about instincts.

When you bring this little bundle of joy into this world, you are instantly in love. You want nothing more than to do good by this little bundle of joy and you know that you will always work to be better as a person and a parent each day. The newborn days are tough. You are often tested to see what you can figure out from a simple cry. That baby will cry and sleep very little in the middle of the night yet you somehow figure out what your baby needs. You work through it and you use instincts, believe it or not, to determine what your baby needs!

As your child grows into a toddler, they are more demanding for now they have figured out how to use their voice and you are the lucky one who taught them how to talk. It’s like this catch 22, you teach them to talk and then you want them to stop. Reality is you still have to use your instincts to figure out what is causing your toddler to have a tantrum. You have to figure out what times are best to give the toddler a nap. You have to figure out if your tantrum throwing toddler needs something beyond the immediate moment. Perhaps the toddler needs more positive attention and sure enough they will act out negatively just to get your attention.

Then you get into the days of pre-teens. These are difficult times for the child is shown the path by their peers. They are in school and learning how others interact as a family, what their friends believe in and more than likely they have picked up some bad habits. You have to work with your pre-teen at home to determine where behavioral issues are stemming from. Is there something wrong at school, is your child feeling like they are not good enough? Will your pre-teen talk to you? Maybe, maybe not. You have to again dig deep into that parental gut instinct and know your child to figure out what’s going on.

Parenting is all About Instincts

Last, but certainly not least your role as a parent turns to the raising of a teenager. These years are confusing, difficult and make gut instincts on edge. During the teen years your parental instincts will be tested because you will watch shows, read books and learn more about this stage in childhood. Those teen years could lead you down a path of thinking your child is on drugs because they are anxious, depressed or moody. That’s not always the case. Teenagers are moody, anxious and depressed – it’s their hormones and the stress brought on by high demand of expectations from school.

ParentInfluence How to Get Kids to Do Homework

Eventually you will muster through every stage of parenthood, on your own or with help from loved ones. The children will grow up to tell you what they thought you did wrong and what they thought you did right. You will learn all over again how you were great at following instincts in some scenarios and not so great in others. You will learn that as a parent, you did the best you could fueled by the internal need to keep those children safe. Last, but not least, this process will be repeated all over again when and if you become a grandparent.

Autism Awareness #LightItUpBlue for Understanding and Acceptance

I recently shared a bit about my autism story with my middle child. Diagnosed High Functioning Autistic about 3 years ago or so, it was a new learning experience. With that being said, finally having the diagnosis that now is pretty much Asperger’s helped us to better raise our son. Now when others want to look at him odd or make faces because he isn’t as social as one would anticipate for a 10 year old boy to be, I just say “that’s how he is and that’s okay! He will socialize when he warms up to people but that takes a while.” And I am okay with who my son is and I think he’s pretty darn awesome!

Since April is World Autism Month, I’ve decided to #LightItUpBlue with Autism Speaks to increase understanding and awareness of autism. I have found that more people are aware of autism than ever before. I personally have learned that there are many areas of Autism that make raising autism so tricky. No two parents will have the same child who exhibits exactly the same quirks or personality traits. It’s highly likely that you know someone with autism too since the CDC estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in every 68 children in the United States.

Autism refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

Why I’m Going to #LightItUpBlue for Understanding and Acceptance

Autism’s most obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Autism Speaks encourages parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

My Son Was Diagnosed around age 8

It wasn’t easy to get an autism diagnosis. First he was said to be ADHD, bi-polar as that runs heavily in the family and at age 2 I even had a pysch try to give him anti-psychotic drugs. I walked out and never went back there! It isn’t easy to get a diagnosis for Autism because the symptoms can be clearly misdiagnosed for ADHD, bipolar and other mental health symptoms like anxiety. There simply aren’t many professionals out there who will look deeper, they prefer to give a quick diagnosis in my opinion and ADHD or anxiety is much easier to say a child has than to take the time to evaluate for autism. Again that is simply based on my own experiences. Finally we met a psychologist who has an adult son who is high functioning autistic – she diagnosed my middle kiddo in a mere matter of minutes. From that day forward my son was no longer on any medications and we worked to mold his household life into something that decreased meltdowns, was routine driven and worked for him.

Never Give UP!

If I had to advise anyone looking to get a diagnosis or answers, I would say DO NOT EVER GIVE UP! You will find someone who gets your child and will give you the diagnosis you and your child deserve. Try to find someone who has a child or grandchild with autism, they are the key to spreading awareness and getting more kiddos diagnosed properly.

Light it Up Blue

The “Light It Up Blue” campaign is about more than awareness — it is about increasing understanding and acceptance of autism.  This includes advocacy and support for people across the entire spectrum throughout their lives. It also includes advancing research into personalized treatments for autism and related conditions.  I encourage you test your understanding of autism by taking this quiz!

Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include GI disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.

My son has GI issues, he has sleep issues and as a younger child ADHD was certainly present. Overall my son still has anxiety and after having his adenoids out he sleeps okay. There’s a tick he has when he is excited and now at age 10 he simply tells his friends that’s what he does when he’s excited, he doesn’t know why. There’s little symptoms he has that you can see if only you know more about autism, the average person may just see him a shy, quiet kid until you get to know him then he’s a chatty Cathy!

Why I’m Going to #LightItUpBlue for Understanding and Acceptance

Make a Difference …

You can help make a difference too by taking the Light It Up Blue Quiz to see how much you know about autism. If you’re moved to do so after visiting AutismSpeaks.org, please show your support for and understanding of the challenges faced by individuals with autism by sharing a photo to #LightItUpBlue for Autism Awareness Month too. Also, check out Autism Speaks’ nationwide calendar of autism-friendly friendly events and activities in April.

Positive Parenting Tips for Raising Teens

During the days of raising a teen you will find that your once talkative child now has a bit of silence. Most questions are answered with the shrug of a shoulder or a simple one word reply. The teen years are difficult for both the parents and the teenager.

There is good news though, these trying times don’t last forever and if you adhere to a few positive parenting tricks then you and your teen should survive this stage.

ParentINfluence Positive Parenting Raising Teenager Tips

Positive Parenting Tips for Raising Teens

Choose your Battles Wisely

These days’ parents must fight with technology which brings teenagers closer to stranger danger than ever before. It’s difficult to find that proper balance between rules that encourage safety and rules derived from paranoia. So as long as your teenager hasn’t given you a reason to not trust them, give them more trust and space to figure out whom they are and what they enjoy.

Give all of your teen’s friends a chance

Most parents have enough experience to know which kids are good ones and which ones are headed down a bad path. While you may know one kid that’s friends with your teen is a bad apple, your teen doesn’t quite see it this way. Learn to embrace all friendships your teenager has by opening your home to these friends. Sometimes a bad apple can turn into a good apple simply by being around a more positive environment.

Parents must really learn to work together

Many families are split up these days so teens are caught living with one parent and possibly a step parent while their other parent is merely someone they visit. Often times the parent who sees the teen less have more lenient rules. Learn to work with your co-parent on a middle ground where you both can be united in rules and discipline structure. Teenagers do need some freedom but setting boundaries with firm consequences are a must to keep them safe and in check.

Always have a game plan for bad decisions

Your teen is still your underage child and requires parental supervision to some level. Consider having a code word that your teen can text you when they realize they’ve made a bad decision. This allows you to come save them from the situation without them risking ridicule by their peers. While it is important to your teen to have freedom it’s just as important to know that you will be there, no questions asked when they need to be saved from a bad decision.

Remember that you once were a teenager too

When parenting a teenager it’s best to let go of the desire to want your teen to be better than you and have more options than you ever had. Raising your teenager means that you have a child who is under your care and direction, it’s time to step up and be a parent without any thoughts of your regrettable past. Your teenager deserves to have a life free of the past that haunts you, so be sure you are parenting your teen based on hearing who they are and what they feel they need.

Be There for your Teen with Unconditional Love

Last but certainly not least, just be there to hear your teen out. Often times if a parent stays quiet long enough when their teen is rambling on for hours, they will hear how their child actually talks themselves into a positive direction. Sometimes all our teenagers need from us is to know that we are always here for them even during those times they make bad decisions. A parent’s job is to love unconditionally, the teenage years will test this theory but reality is it’s just your past demons and your emotions that get in the way of expressing that unconditional love.

Work towards a positive parenting approach with your teenager and see how much change happens in the next few weeks, you may be surprised!

Signs I should Have Seen For Autism

It was 2006. I gave birth to my second child. This was my first born boy. My other child was a girl and age 4. The first born child was easily reaching all milestones, talking ridiculously well at age 2 and advanced in so many ways. I knew the first born daughter was advanced, so when it came to raising another child, I had no idea what the norm was. My son came into this world weighing 9lbs 5oz and being around 19 or 20” in length. My son nursed so frequently that I ultimately gave up on breast and turned to formula when he was around 8 weeks of age. The boy would eat 16oz before even being able to fall asleep for just a few hours at a time.

Life was hard. I walked around with little to no sleep most days for around four years. The struggle was real.

Looking Back – Signs of Autism

While I am not sure if the lack of sleeping was a sign of autism, I know that my son had other characteristics of autism that went overlooked. For example, my first born son needed to have a specific colored bottle for each type of drink. I am uncertain of the exact colors that were for each drink, but he had to have one color cup for juice, one for milk and one for water. If you handed him let’s say the red with juice in it, but the red was normally for water, he would have a total meltdown. He would throw himself down after tossing his cup and proceed to be immensely angry. This was a huge part of his life, often easily angered. We had no idea what to do.

Mom Influence - Signs I should Have Seen For Autism

Mental Health Questions

Since bipolar and other mental health issues run heavily in my family, I simply presumed he had a mood disorder. That’s all that made sense to me, for I had no experience with autism, only mood disorders as I watched my sister grow up being bipolar. Most of the signs my son exhibited to me, were that of someone who was bipolar. Funny thing is, he was actually diagnosed ADHD, Bipolar then finally around age 8 we received a high functioning autistic diagnosis.

Signs of Autism In My Opinion

  • The need to have a specific cup for specific drinks at all times – highly routine driven.
  • Hated Loud Songs, like Happy Birthday song to him, assuming this is part of autism? To this day you cannot sing him Happy Birthday for he hates it with a passion and he’s now 10.
  • Toilet training didn’t occur fully until he was around age 4 years 3 months, that’s only because the pediatrician said it’s been long enough of waiting, let him go diaper free.
  • A delay in fine motor skills. To this day my son is 10 and still has a fine motor skill delay. We had him attending Occupational Therapy once a week for years to work on this.
  • Inability to have empathy without being logical told how to be empathetic. This means he has learned to have empathy but it’s a difficult road to get him to continue to have this concept mastered.
  • A huge love of animals, his dog Jenny sleeps with him every night. Having Jenny the pug sleep beside him was really the first time he started sleeping fully through the night on a regular basis. To this day, my son loves animals, insects, etc more than anything else beyond YouTube!
  • The absolute need for routine, it’s better now that he’s older, but for most of his life he couldn’t have unexpected events happen. For instance, you could go tell him to get his coat on because we were going to head to the store if it wasn’t planned, he would have a meltdown.

My memory may fail me often, so each of these examples are just a few that I recall having to deal with and some days still deal with as signs of autism.

 

Just a boy waiting for his Dunkin donuts #breakfast #holidaybreak

A photo posted by Brandy Ellen (@brandyellen1) on

Not Every Child with Autism is the Same

There are many different signs of autism and the autism spectrum is long, it even includes some mood disorders. So let’s say bipolar is something you are figuring out, this happens to fall closely within the autistic spectrum from what one family counselor told us years ago. You see, my son had many signs of autism but not nearly enough to get a full proper diagnosis until we met with a psychologist whose son has Asperger’s. She knew almost immediately upon meeting my son that he was on the spectrum. The way he rocked when in the room with her, the ticks he has when excited about something and his way of speaking with lack of eye contact. Those are all signs he had back around age 8 when we met with a psychiatrist who specialized in this area of mental health.

Keep on Fighting – Your Child Matters

If you are struggling with some of the things I had struggled with and you see a sign of autism in your child, my advice to you is to continue fighting. Do not take medications for your child thinking it will fix it. Trust me – my son was placed on some heavy duty anti-psychotic drugs and others from ages 4 up until age 8 when we walked away from medications completely and simply made lifestyle changes. The medications have left this boy with everlasting side effects that I won’t disclose as that’s his personal medical information. The road was rough, but we continued to meet new counselors and psychiatrists until finally we had an answer and a way to move forward that made sense!

Keep fighting for your child, you are the only one who can influence what happens in their life and it is your job to continue the long, sleepless night battle until you feel resolve.