Take a breath
Our emotional state fluctuates throughout a day and how we respond to our children's behaviors can be adapted to our state of mind. Being a calm & mindful parent is a challenging task. There are so many demands on us from our children, partners, work, parents, friends and community groups. We might even put ourselves last so this make it even harder to remain calm when things are not running smoothly.
STOP - Calm & Mindful Parenting Tool - How to use it?
Print this poster and stick it to your fridge.
The more you see it and think about it, the faster you will be able to use it when there are heightened behaviours.
Stop what you are doing and check in with yourself. Notice how you are feeling in that moment.
Take a Breath
We teach our children to breath deeply whey they get anxious, upset or too excited. It also applies to us! Taking a deep breath helps to self-regulate and reduce stress. It also gives us a moment to notice how we are feeling.
Observe and acknowledge what you are going through. AVOID judging yourself. It's normal to feel angry, impatient and frustrated.
Observe your senses. Are you feeling irritated in your body? Do you need to run around a little bit? Do you need to quickly self-regulate by squishing a ball or grounding yourself?
Take a moment to do what you need to do so you can move on to the next step and respond instead of reacting to your child's behaviour.
Proceed with real intentions. Now that you regain composure of yourself, you can decide what is the best way to respond to your child's behaviour and execute. Rather than being reactive you are intentional with your response.
Here are three (3) different responses you can do:
Give in: If you think you are going to give in at some point, give in at the beginning. That way, you avoid teaching your child to heighten behaviours to get what they want.
Redirect: This is where we don't respond to the the behaviour, but we do something else to divert our child's attention. For example, if your child screams to get candy you can ignore the behaviour, go play with bubbles on your own and pretending to have a great time!
Teach: We don't respond directly to the behaviour, but we prompt a more appropriate response. For example, I give my child an instruction to go brush their teeth and they start screaming. Instead of insisting on them brushing their teeth immediately, I will tell them "Try again. Say: I want more time playing". Once they copied the appropriate language, I will tell them: "Sure, I'll give you five (5) more minutes". That way, they learn to ask for what they want in an appropriate way instead of screaming or throwing a tantrum.
If you would like to receive the STOP poster to put on your fridge, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to discuss more in depth self-regulation strategies or responses to your child's behaviours, book your Complimentary Call with our Board Certified Behaviour Analyst.