1. Change the setting
Change the environment, the activity, or the people involved, so that your child feels safe. For example, if your child becomes overly stimulated when they play with their friends, you may want to advise them to avoid multiple distractions such as turning off the TV or trying a different activity such as coloring or playing outdoors.
2. Respond calmly
Respond to the situation calmly and without your anger or emotion. This is by far the most important skill you need to learn. If your child’s behavior has made you angry, take a few minutes to calm down before deciding how to respond. Example: Your child is angry and beats you. Don’t react emotionally. That would play right into his behavior by giving him the attention he desires. He copes with the behavior but be careful not to show surprise, fear, or anger.
3. Teaching alternative behaviors
Teach your child alternative and socially more appropriate ways to express what he wants or needs. For example, if your child has a fight over sharing toys with friends or siblings, teach them the lending process (“Can I play with your puzzle for a while?”) And bartering (“I’ll lend you my book if I can play with your puzzle. “) Model this behavior for him by showing respect for his possessions.
4. Offer choices
Give your child choices and opportunities to have more control over their environment. For example, if your child is a fussy eater, ask her what she would like to eat, offer her options (“Do you want a peanut butter or tuna sandwich?”), Or have her become a part of the process (“Why don’t you help me cook dinner? /grocery shopping?”).
Remember that children with problematic behaviors many times also have problems with processing; be sure to limit these choices to two or three. Children with processing problems and impulsives often have trouble making choices. Abstract choices like “go play with your toys” are too overwhelming for them. Try saying “do you want to play with Spiderman or Lego” show both toys, then say “choose one”. Doing this emotionless on your part gives the child the opportunity to choose without being overwhelmed.
5. Notice the positive
Notice positive behavior when it occurs and offer genuine praise. For example, “It was very kind of you to let your brother play with your toy.” I say even after a meltdown “nice job to make you calm down”. Praise everything!
6. Be consistent
Make sure there are consistent and predictable routines. “We wash our faces, brush our teeth and put on our pajamas every night before we go to bed.” I’ve found that snack and meal times work best if they are consistent. Example: breakfast at 8:00, snack at 10:00, lunch at 12:00, snack at 15:00, dinner at 17:00, then bedtime snack at 19:00, bed at 19:30. It doesn’t matter if on weekdays, weekends, holidays or summer. It is very important to keep the program the same. Yes, you have to do it even if your child can’t tell the time. They may not be able to look at the clock, but I bet their bodies tell them “around” what time it is.
7. Avoid surprises
When there is a change in a routine or schedule, prepare your baby in advance so he knows what to expect. For example, “Mom and Dad are going out tonight, so we won’t be able to read you the bedtime story. But why don’t we pick a book together to read tomorrow night?” Some kids need to know things like “let’s go to the supermarket today after school” can eliminate a “slump” after school because you’ve already prepared them for the change.
8. Have fun
Make sure there is joy and fun in your child’s life every day. Many parents find it helpful to play with their children before they have to do housework or errands. Think about what makes your child’s face smile and find time to smile together every day.
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