Neurofeedback can benefit everyone! Brain training can benefit the entire family. But when you have kids at home, be it toddlers or teens, setting a routine and creating new healthy habits can be difficult. Neurofeedback Trainer Coach and Family Therapist, Alison Pepper LCSW, shares some tips on how to optimize your neurofeedback training at home.
Commit to The Training
Who's the boss? Parents are! In my opinion, parents are doing their best for their child and family and also know their child better than anyone. It's important to give kids options and choices but if you have determined that your child could benefit from neurofeedback training, then the most important thing is to make sure your child trains and trains regularly throughout your rental. You would be surprised how many times we hear "My child didn't want to train today" or "He just doesn't like it". Let's be honest, children don't like a lot of things such as for example broccoli, homework, or dentist visits but they still need to experience those things. The same goes for neurofeedback training! The only way to find out if this will work for you and your family is if you commit to doing it. To get the support around this topic as a parent, I recommend reading these two books; 123 magic by Dr. Tom Phelan and How to Talk so Kids Will Listen by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
Here's an excellent Video Excerpt of "1-2-3 Magic" Seminar with Thomas Phelan, Ph.D.
Watch also this YouTube Video from an interview with the authors. Classic parenting tips for all ages!!
Finding the right time to train
Scheduling can always be a challenge for a family. Depending on how your child feels during and after session you may want to consider when they train. Many adults and children feel relaxed or even sleepy during a session so before bedtime could be a great moment. And if you child falls asleep no problem, simply unhook them and clean them up in the morning. It's great to check in with your child about when they want to train (before school, after school, before bed, on the weekends) but remember you're the boss so in the end what works for you as the parent is going to work best for the child.
Eating brain foods
Most of the brain consists of fat. Did you know that 60 percent of your brain is made up of DHA – an omega-3 fat that you get from algae and fish? Salmon, eggs, rich in omega-3s, probiotics, and seaweed snacks are great for the brain! Your brain is the fattest organ in your body. That being the case, it should come as no surprise that our brains need fat to work correctly. For more ideas about what foods to eat and to avoid check out this other blog post here.
The more the merrier
If you live together -- also train to together! This can do a few things; first it helps minimize any stigma around training. If Mom, Dad, or a sibling train along side of a child who is struggling with a particular symptom of issue it helps child feel less alone. It can also be fun for the child to help Mom or Dad put on the sensors just like you help your child. This builds extra bonding time around helping eachother and the experience of neurofeedback. But more importantly, training multiple people in the home at the same time help regulate all your nervous systems together. If a parent is feeling calmer and more flexible, the child too will feel that from the parent and from their own feedback.
Here's a review from a neurofeedback training client who rented for two months for ADHD support:
I'm very glad to have found this tool. After two months of training I found there was a background of calm in our household. My 12 year old child (diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder) wasn't always happy to sit still and do the sessions - (he was training the most of us, about 2-3 times per week), but as he gradually noticed his response to difficult emotional situations around his friends or school work he ended up wanting to do the sessions, so we rented for another month. As a working mother, I too found it was helpful and noticed I didn't become as triggered in those situations I previously would be triggered by. I highly recommend renting and train with the whole family!
To learn more about this, here's an excerpt from our Renting FAQ page:
Why do we recommend that a parent also train if they are renting a machine primarily for their child’s issues?
Your child’s brain/central nervous system (CNS), is learning to assess current needs from gathering information in the here-and-now, rather than using habitual information/neural pathways. Brain disorders such as anxiety/depression/ADHD are the result of maladaptive brain responses that are based on using habitual information/neural pathways to function not realizing that those responses are not appropriate to the present task. (For example, why should the brain produce an anxious state when their is no threat?) A major shift through training is your child’s brain learns to be in a state called regulation: calm, alert, and open to the here-and-now, and only become active only when their is an event that needs action.
This process of learning is sped up when a primary caregiver’s brain is also learning the same process of being regulated–calm, centered, open. Why? Because just like you see in pack animal behaviors, children’s brains tune themselves to their caregivers’ brains. If the parent is anxious, the child will also become anxious. If the parent becomes calm the child’s brain will also shift, like tuning forks resonating with each other. A wonderful example of this process of attunement is to watch The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic. In the episodes you will see examples of how Cesar (the alpha dog trainer) who is “calm assertive”, i.e. has a regulated CNS, works with an anxious/fearful/aggressive dog through the natural attunement process where a beta dog’s CNS aligns with an alpha’s CNS.
Want get started with Neurofeedback Training?
Renting an advanced home system is the most cost-effective and convenient training method. It's easy to set-up at home and the system available for rent provides the same training as in clinics who offers NeurOptimal neurofeedback. Our excellent Neurofeedback Trainers and coaches will guide you throughout the renting process.
Written by Alison Pepper, LCSW & NeurOptimal Neurofeedback Trainer
Alison Pepper is a Neurofeedback Trainer Coach, a Child and Family Therapist in NYC,working with families and children dealing with mental health issues; with an emphasis on trauma informed work. She's a bilingual therapist for over five years (fluent in both English and Spanish), SIFI certified, and a meditation teacher. She recently became a Certified NeurOptimal Neurofeedback Trainer at Neurofeedback Training Co. in New York City.
“I believe all people have the tools to heal ourselves; grow, learn, and reach our full potential. No matter what your age or life circumstances therapy is a safe space to do that work.”