Yale Parenting Center
Making Families Stronger September 2016

From Alan Kazdin

Back to School

It is that time of year again.  The time when we trade days filled with camp, trips, and late bed times for structure, homework, and early wake ups.  Although many parents are often relieved to get the year started, the transition back to school may not be easy for children or parents. 

As you child begins school, we recommend developing a regular routine for mornings and after school time.  Getting into these routines, however, can be a source of tension in many families.  You may find yourself repeating directions and yelling as you try to get your child moving in the morning.  Remember to keep tensions down and stay calm. 

If you child is not good at a part of the routine, you can help.  If he or she has a hard time getting dressed, for example you can try picking clothes out the night before.  Waking up early before your children can also help reduce your stress level in the morning. You can even practice getting dressed on the weekends, when there is not as much pressure.  Have your child pretend to get dressed (go through the motions) and cheer him on for doing so cooperatively.  This will help develop the behavior in your child during the week.

You may notice as you work on these routines, some tasks don't get done, and that is okay.  It is more important to remain calm and focus on what went well with the knowledge that you and your child will iron out the kinks as time goes on.  The Yale Parenting Center wishes you and your children a happy new school year filled with fun and learning!


For Parents

School is starting.  Are you worried about your child's behavior this year?

Free Program Now Available

We are now open for enrollment in our new study at the Yale Parenting Center!  

Who? Connecticut parents with children 6-12 years old.
Have a child with behavioral problems.

What? A 6-session evidence-based program for the parents or caregivers of children who are struggling with behavioral difficulties will be provided at no cost.

Where? Yale University in New Haven.

How do I know if I am eligible for this study?  You are welcome to email or call our intake coordinator, Natasha at natasha.hamilton@yale.edu or 203-432-9761.

Click here for more information

It's Baaaack!   

Every new school year presents new experiences and challenges.  One of the most difficult is homework.  Homework doesn't have to be a struggle.  Here are some tips to help you and your child off to a happy homework place this year.
  • Establish a distraction free zone to do homework.
  • Choose and stick to an approximate start time.
  • Have the proper materials (pencils, lamp, paper) and let your child choose them.
  • Use a teacher involved daily assignment sheet.
  • Stay calm and be specific when you are telling your child to start homework.
  • Praise your child's efforts before correcting mistakes.
  • Take a break if things get heated.
  • Set up a plan to reinforce homework if it is difficult, your child can earn small rewards or privileges for doing it calmly and praise. 


Dr. Kazdin was recently interviewed on NBC CT by Jackie Brousseau for the Spotlight on Connecticut segment.

Check it out here!

Professional Interest

Advanced Webinar in September

Take your Basic PMT training to the next level and attend our Advanced PMT webinar.  You will learn the advanced skills of the method as well as how to push past treatment barriers and conduct effective role-plays in session. 

Here are the details of the next training.

Helping Clients with School Problem Behaviors

Clinicians working with families and children are often faced with the tall order of helping improve school problem behaviors.  It is a long school day with many factors and many different people involved. 

One way to tackle this seemingly impossible task is to use the very effective tool of simulation.  Simulation involves role-playing a scenario, rather than just talking about it, with a child in which they handle a problem well.  The key in this is to be sure to praise and reinforce this role-play immediately.

You can use this technique in your session with the child, however, it will only be helpful if it is practiced repeatedly.  Teach the parent how to conduct these role-plays at home with their child between your sessions.

The role-plays should start out easy and silly and be non threatening situations.  Then, as the child progresses, the role-plays can get more difficult and realistic.  You can role-play anything from social situations with other students to how to stay calm when frustrated with school work. 

For more information on our method, check out the professional section of our website here.

What's Happening at the Center

Regular Hours Resume

The Yale Parenting Center will resume regular hours on Monday August 29th.  Contact us for more information on scheduling.

Dear YPC

My daughter Avery is starting school this week.  She is going into third grade.  She typically does pretty well academically, however, each year there is some kind of behavioral concern in school.  My husband and I struggle with how to approach the teacher about this.  We usually get a phone call or a note sent home and are not sure how to handle it.  We would love some advice on how to get started on the right foot with her new teacher before any problems come up.  Thanks for your help, Evelyn

Dear Evelyn,

We are so glad you wrote YPC for help.  Developing a positive relationship with teachers and school personnel is important for you daughter's education.  First, we recommend that you emphasize the importance of a joint effort.  Work with your child's teacher and avoid the position that your child's school behavior and academic success is the school's responsibility.

When there is a problem, try to recognize the teacher's position and praise his or her efforts.  Provide positive feedback to the teacher when you can.  Also, be sure to solicit the teacher's ideas and recommendations and identify what role you can play at home. 

Contact the teacher regularly for an update on your child's progress by commenting on some of the specific positive changes you have noticed.    You should also prepare for conferences or phone calls with a list of questions or concerns you wish to discuss. 

Good luck with the school year!

Yale Yale Parenting Center
314 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
T 203 432.9993
F 203 432.5225
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