Therapeutic Interventions

1. Schedule extra time to prepare self and the child for the transition from home to school. (1, 2)

2. Verbalize confidence in the child's ability to adjust to school. (3, 4)

1. Council the parents to visit the school several times if necessary, meeting the teacher and becoming familiar with the facilities.

2. Instruct the parents to involve the child in the school preparation process (e.g., listing necessary school supplies, picking out a backpack).

3. Assign the parents to use I-statements to verbalize confidence in the child's ability to adjust to school (e.g., "I think you will like your teacher; I believe you will learn many new things.").

3. Verbalize reduction in feelings of guilt, anxiety, fear, or jealousy that may be contributing to the parent/child separation anxiety. (5, 6)

4. Establish a morning routine designed to help organize and prepare for the school day. (7, 8, 9)

5. Verbalize a belief that the child can successfully

4. Teach the parents to use low-key descriptive praise to affirm the child's progress in school (e.g., "You've learned five new words this week.") rather than global, evaluative praise (e.g., "You're such a smart girl.").

5. Assist the parents in reframing their separation anxiety by suggesting alternative methods of interpreting their concerns (e.g., "My child will miss me all day," reframed to, "Maria will miss me at first and then begin to enjoy the activities at school.").

6. Assist the parents in identifying their child's anxieties that may be unintentionally supported by their reactions; council them to reframe the child's feelings of fear by discussing events rationally and logically.

7. Assist the parents in developing a plan for the morning routine that outlines steps necessary for the child's organized departure for school.

8. Assign the parents and their child to complete the "Organizing for the School Day" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner (Knapp) to aid in planning for the school day.

9. Advise the parents that no television or play time should be allowed until the child is completely organized for departure for school.

10. Assign the parents to imagine with their child what a perfect participate in the school day. (10, 11)

6. Assist the child in developing the readiness skills necessary for success at each academic level. (12, 13)

7. Assign age- and ability-appropriate tasks and responsibilities to the child. (14, 15)

day in school would be like, compare this description with the child's actual experiences and brainstorm ways improve each school day (or assign the "My Ideal School Day" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner by Knapp).

11. Assist the parents in creating a written list of the child's positive personal attributes, skills, and abilities.

12. Assign the parents to obtain a list of grade-level skills and requirements from the child's school (e.g., knowledge of numbers and letters, reading and calculation skills, knowledge of history); assist the child in meeting these readiness requirements.

13. Council the parents to involve the child in enriching activities which will contribute to a successful school experience (e.g., arrange for social interaction with peers; read with the child daily, visit the community library or museum).

14. Emphasize the connection between responsible behavior at home and success at school by instructing the parents to assign age- and ability-appropriate tasks and chores to the child at home.

15. Assign the parents to use chores and tasks to teach responsibility to the child using the four-step process described in Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay: (1)

8. Agree to ensure school attendance on a daily basis. (16, 17)

9. Help the child establish procedures for effective study habits. (18, 19)

10. Set up routine procedures for meals, bedtime, the morning preparation for school, and study time. (20, 21)

Give the child an age-appropriate task, (2) hope that the child "blows it," (3) let the resulting consequences and empathy do the teaching, and (4) give the same task again.

16. Contract with the parents to ensure daily school attendance by the child.

17. Suggest methods of coping with attendance resistance from a timid child (e.g., speak calmly but firmly and keep repeating, "I'm sorry you feel that way, but you must go to school."); urge them not to argue with any of the child's complaints.

18. Encourage the parents to teach the child study habits which will enhance success in school (e.g., record assignments in a planner, break large projects into smaller study segments).

19. Assign the parents to monitor and reinforce their child's school attendance, punctuality, and academic achievement.

20. Instruct the parents to establish family procedures for meals, bedtime, and the morning routine so that the child is held accountable for being prepared (or assign the "Procedures for Meals, Bedtime and the Morning Routine" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner by Knapp).

21. Assign the parents to assist their child in establishing procedures that designate the time and place for schoolwork, duration of the study time, methods of checking

11. Verbalize and implement strategies designed to promote independence and responsible behavior. (22, 23)

12. Attend a class or didactic series focusing on positive parenting. (24, 25)

13. Avoid power struggles by clearly defining expectations and setting enforceable limits. (26, 27)

the work, and limits for parental involvement.

22. Assign the parents to substitute the phrase "Next Time" (see Parent Talk by Moorman) for "don't" to shape positive future efforts from the child (e.g., "Next time you have a spelling test, I'll be happy to help you if you ask me in advance." versus "Don't ask me to help you with your spelling test at the last minute.").

23. Counsel the parents to use "Act as if" (see Parent Talk by Moorman) to encourage the child to make an effort despite fear of failure, (e.g., "Act as if you felt great about going to school.").

24. Refer the parents to a positive parenting class (e.g., Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) by Dinkmeyer and Mckay), Discipline with Love and Logic by Fay, Cline, and Fay, or The Parent Talk System by Moorman and Knapp).

25. Assign parents to listen to the audio tape, Helicopters, Drill Sergeants, and Consultants by Fay to recognize the advantage of allowing their child to resolve their own problems.

26. Advise parents to avoid power struggles with the child by expressing clearly defined expectations and using contingency management strategies that make privileges dependent upon compliance (e.g., "Feel free to play the

14. Promote the child's appropriate social interaction with classmates and friends. (28, 29)

15. Encourage the child to participate in a well-balanced academic, social, and extracurricular program. (30, 31, 32)

16. Meet with the child's teacher and/or other educational staff to develop a plan for computer game after you've organized your backpack.").

27. Assign the parents to brainstorm with their child the personal qualities required to work cooperatively with others (e.g., active listening, eye contact, promptness, following directions).

28. Instruct the parents to assist their child in planning for an after school or weekend activity with a friend; record the event with a photo, paragraph, and/ or drawing entry from the child.

29. Council the parents to encourage the child to join a social group or club by listing options available at school.

30. Instruct the parents to discuss progress reports, grade cards, conference input, and the results of tests and evaluations with the child immediately to emphasize the family's focus on quality education.

31. Assign the parents to engage the child in at least one extracurricular activity that promotes the child's special interest or ability (e.g., music or art lessons).

32. Encourage the parents to focus on the individual interests and abilities of the child and to emphasize personal best achievement rather than competition.

33. Instruct the parents to establish a communication schedule that provides for regular interchange effectively challenging and motivating the child to achieve. (33, 34, 35)

17. Discuss with the child how education, planning, and training have contributed to the personal success of various family members. (36, 37, 38)

18. Increase recognition and encouragement to reinforce the child's active attempts to attend school and build between the child's teacher and home.

34. Advise the parents to consult the school regarding aptitude and interest tests available to their child at various grade levels; ask them to discuss how the test results may relate to future educational decisions.

35. Encourage the parents to emphasize to their child the crucial connection between school performance and future career choices by detailing how specific curriculum is used in the workplace (e.g., math facilitates money management, reading facilitates following directions, writing facilitates communication with others).

36. Instruct the parents to enlist their child's help in creating a list of the education and career paths of various family members.

37. Instruct the parents to model positive and enthusiastic work habits for the child (e.g., leaving for work on time, limiting sick days).

38. Advise the parents of their position as career role model; encourage them to relate personal work experiences that will positively shape their child's attitudes toward future educational and career decisions.

39. Teach the parents the one-sentence intervention (e.g., "I noticed that you get up on time each morning"; "I noticed that positive academic and social habits. (39)

you enjoy reading.") to affirm the child's daily attempts to successfully adjust to school. (See Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay.)

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