It’s that week – the first-day-of-school week. Whether your children started yesterday or, as mine did, today, you know that this week comes with a flood of images and feelings– cooler Fall weather (as we have here today), apples, new beginnings, fresh starts, clean slates, resolutions (I think more parental resolutions happen this week than any other week in the year!), new shoes, anticipation, fear…it goes on and on.
For more and more children, however, each school year brings the possibility of being labelled with some sort of diagnosis or problem. Often, these days, these problems have to do with paying attention in class. Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting, conducted a scientific (not yet published) study on the effects of simplifying home life on ADHD symptoms and school performance. The study showed that not only did implementing simplification (in the realms of environment, rhythm, scheduling and filtering out the adult world) decrease ADHD symptoms, but the children’s school performance actually improved. Compared to a medication-only treatment, where symptoms decreased, but school performance stayed the same, simplifying led to more all-around improvement.
So, this school year, if there are murmurs about your child’s ability to “sit still” and pay attention, try some simplifying to support your child. In addition to simplifying, the importance of lots and lots of outside time cannot be overstated. This occupational therapist’s classroom observation is very instructive on the effects of kids getting too-little time to move.