1. Change settings
Change the environment, activity, or people involved to make your child feel safe. For example, if your child becomes overstimulated when playing with his friends, you may recommend that he avoid multiple distractions, such as turning off the television or trying a different activity, such as coloring or playing outside.
2. Respond calmly
Respond to the situation calmly and without your own 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 hits you. Don’t react emotionally. That would influence the behavior to give you the attention you want. Address the behavior, but be careful not to show surprise, fear, or anger.
3. Teach alternative behaviors
Teach your child alternative and more socially appropriate ways of expressing what he wants or needs. For example, if your child fights about sharing toys with friends or siblings, teach him the process of borrowing (“Can I play with your puzzle for a bit?”) And bartering (“I’ll lend you my book if I can play with your puzzle. . “) Model this behavior by showing respect for your possessions.
4. Offer options
Offer options and opportunities for your child to have more control over his environment. For example, if your child is a picky eater, ask him what he would like to eat, provide options (“Would you like a peanut butter or tuna sandwich?”), Or make him part of the process. (“Why don’t you help me make dinner / choose food?”).
Remember that children with behavior problems often have processing problems too; be sure to limit those options to two or three. Children with impulsive and processing issues often have trouble making decisions. Abstract options like “go play with their toys” are overwhelming for them. Try saying, “do you want to play with Spiderman or Lego?”, Show both toys and then say “choose one”. Doing this without your emotions gives the child a choice without feeling overwhelmed.
5. Notice the positive
Observe positive behavior when it occurs and give genuine praise. For example, “It was very nice of you to let your brother play with your toy.” I even say after a breakdown “good job calming you down.” Praise all!
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 going to bed.” I have found that snack and meal times work best if they are also consistent. Example: breakfast at 8 a.m. M., Snack at 10 a.m. M., Lunch at 12 p.m. M., Snack at 3 p.m. M., Dinner at 5 p.m. It does not matter if it is on weekdays, weekends, holidays or summer. It is very important to keep the same hours. Yes, you must do this even if your child cannot 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 routine or schedule, prepare your child ahead of time so they know what to expect. For example, “Mom and Dad are going out tonight, so we won’t be able to read your bedtime story to you. But why don’t we pick a book together to read tomorrow night?” Some kids need to know things like “today we are going to the store after school” that can eliminate a “crash” after school because it has already prepared them for 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 household chores or errands. Think about what makes your child smile and take time each day to smile together.