I heard someone say, we are currently all in the same storm but in different boats.
This is so true.
And, during this pandemic storm, everyone (yup, that’s including you) experiences higher levels of worry and anxiety. For those with an underlying mental illness, things are a little bit worse.
It’s been tough on you. It’s been tough for your child. Your boat hasn’t been in this type of storm before.
In your boat, your child may be experiencing fear, worry, school refusal or other difficult behaviours.
So, let’s normalise this…..
Take a few minutes to look out at the other boats (eg; other families).
How many do you count?
You might be surprised to know that of all those boats, 1 in 4 are having a similar challenge.
I want to help with some of those challenges.
1. Try focussing on the behaviours you want to see more
A simple ‘well done, that’s great’ or ‘great sharing with your brother / friend’, or ‘thanks for helping me put the dishes away’.
2. Create some family rules (along with consequences, where suitable).
Set aside a time when everyone is calm to talk about rules and expectations, appropriate to your child’s age. Also talk about what happens if rules are not followed.
Also remember tip 1 – focus on the behaviours you want to see. A star chart might be great for a toddler / pre-school. For those a bit older, it may be consequences planned, that promote the behaviour you want eg: removal of screen time for a period of time.
3. Check what language you use around behaviours.
Are you saying things like ‘good girl/boy’ or ‘that was naughty’ or ‘that’s very bad’?
Try saying ‘well done’ instead of good girl/ boy.
Try describing the unwanted behaviour, such as ‘when you hit me, that hurt
me’ and then ask for an apology vs ‘that was naughty’ or ‘don’t hit’.
Oh, and repeat after me: ‘it’s ok to ask for help’.