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Children, Protect & Educate

When parents send their children for after school programs, sometimes they may take it for granted that the child is happy and safe. But as the number of children participating in these activities has increased, it is therefore necessary to look into safety issues.

Children are vulnerable when they are outside the classes. While going or returning, they should know the safest route to take. Many kids hang out with their friends just after these classes. Find out ‘danger zones’ from your neighbors and make the children aware of these.

The child has to know how to handle emergencies. It is better to discuss
various scenarios with your child. Talk to your children and ensure they know what to do for as many situations that may arise as is possible. For example what your child should do in case the
class is suddenly cancelled. Show your the first aid kit at home and make sure your child knows who to call in an emergency. Post any important contact information in a place that is easily accessible to the child. If your child is to be alone at home (for what ever reason), discuss a few unexpected things with your child. Also take steps to protect your child when at home alone, things like smoke detectors must be installed, peep hols in the front door, security screens and saftey chains and other safety devices, perhaps even an alarm system. Talk to your child about the various safety features within your home and educate your children about how to use the safety features properly and effectively.

Whether at home or out with friends, let your child know who can be contacted at times of emergency. Ask your child to check in by phone and let you know if they do something differently to what they had told you they were going to do. Teach your children to remain in a group where ever possible. Things like going to isolated public toilets alone or going home via isolated streets must be avoided.

There is of course so much more which we need to teach our children in order to help them to remain safe, but as parents we all should be aware of the possible dangers and ensure we talk to our children about those risks and the best ways of avoiding or at least reducing those risk factors.

ADHD Children, Some Suggestions

After school activity for the hyperactive child

ADHD refers to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Most children who
suffer from this disorder suffer from attention problems as well as hyperactivity. Parents of such children are well aware that inattention and hyperactivity continue throughout the day. Keeping such children busy after school hours can be as difficult as keeping them safe during the school day.

The first step while choosing the right after school activity for your child is to understand how ADHD affects a child. Is your child interested in sports? Is your child put off by the fierce competitiveness, or does your child find it hard to get along with teammates? Does your child vocalize their feelings, or is communication a bit of a problem?

For a child suffering from ADHD, physical exercise is always beneficial. Exercise takes up the extra energy and helps to stimulate the brain. Team activities teach social skills and discipline. But, if your child shies away from team sports, you may want to look at activities like dancing, football, soccer, cricket, netball, cycling, swimming or gymnastics. Martial arts can be a great activity for children who are not so comfortable in a team type of environment, also Martial arts not only teach techniques of self defense but also teach self control, discipline and patience.

If your child shows aversion to sport and shows inclination towards the fine arts, you may need to look at some other options. Acting classes are a wonderful form of creative exercise. It also provides the child with ample opportunity to develop their social skills. Music, art or dance can help the child to keep themselves busy as well as quite entertained.

In case the child is not interested in any of the above, you may encourage your son to join a Boy Scouts club or other community oriented clubs that take up social work, for a daughter, perhaps the girl guides or something similar. Cleaning a park, putting on a show, helping out in an old age home are various activities that may pique your child’s interest.

Whatever form of activity you choose, make sure that you monitor your child’s progress periodically. If you feel that there is no progress, you may need to change the activity. Anything that increases your child’s self esteem is good. You may enlist the help of the coach or teacher to assess your child’s development.

There are certain activities that are detrimental to a child suffering from ADHD. Computer and video games are a definite No No. Since these games need no interaction, children will feel all the more isolated. These children also find it difficult to distinguish between the good and the bad messages. They may therefore show an inclination to stick to messages that are not needed. Games that need the child to sit and wait for his turn patiently tax his patience and will not be a success.

Although you would want these children to be as near to normal as possible, understanding their needs and limits will help you select the right after school activity, one that is fulfilling, tiring as well as challenging.

As a parent it is important that you talk to your child’s teachers and coaches to ensure they are aware of the difficulties your child faces. This will help those role models and educators to understand that your child is willing and wanting to learn and participate, but at times your child can be a little difficult. We need to create an environment for children with ADHD which ensures they are accepted, understood and assisted to develop and prosper as we would hope all children do.

For single parent families or families where both parents are working, if you do hire the services of a nanny or babysitter for your child, please ensure that the childcare provider is aware of your child’s ADHD and discuss how things are going as frequently as possible. This will ensure that your babysitter is not struggling (un beknowns) to yourself, and if your childcare provider is having difficulty you will be able to talk about ways of improving the situation and in the worst case scenario find another babysitter who has more experience with children who can at times be challenging.