It’s not you, It’s me!!!

It’s not you, It’s me!!!

Does the following scenario sound familiar to you…

 

You are trying to interact with your child; but, your child is whining, complaining, not following the direction, dropping to the floor, etc. You begin to feel frustrated, your voice gets “sharp”, you are snapping or yelling. 

You are so not alone!!!!

There are often times when I am scratching my head going “why are you acting this way” then it hits me like a brick!

This is typically when the reality that my son is feeding off my emotions, frustrations, and energies kicks into high gear.

Time to reset!!

How do I go about resetting??

The very first thing I do is acknowledge to my son that I do not like the way I am talking right now.

Then I tell him I need to take a minute.  Typically, I just stand there and take some deep breathes. If I am really frustrated then I take a time out by going to the bathroom or walking to another room.

When I have my composure back, I apologize for my voice tone or behaviour. Then I take a couple of minutes to connect at my son’s level. (Stop, Drop, Connect) This is often enough to get his behaviour back in the desired direction. 

If things improve then I have to let the previous behaviour go (easier said than done). This is when I replay the song “Let it Go” in my head :). 

What do you do if your child has not been able to reset?

There have been many times when I have pulled myself together but our son is “too far gone”. He is immersed in his emotional release (aka tantrum) or undesired behaviour. Now it is time to help him.

I label his behaviour and talk him through his frustration or I give him the space to unload.

I will ask if he needs a minute or if he wants a hug.  He usually takes the hug and then he resets.

You may be thinking this all sounds great but how can it be that easy?

In all reality, it is not always that easy.

When you are in the midst of these behaviours over and over again (toddlers and preschoolers are famous for that) it certainly does not feel easy.

There will be times where the resetting can take place after an epic 30 minute emotional release. This is when it is really important that you remind yourself that the calmer you remain the easier your reset becomes.

The positive thing that can come out of you resetting like this is that your child learns how to reset by following your example.

I have to admit the first time I saw our little man stand, take a deep breath and ask for a minute (“need break”) my heart swelled!!

 

If you have further questions I would love to hear from you. If you are a member of Parenting Foundations feel free to send me a private message or post in the private group. If you are not a member but would like to hear more about it, please click on the link beside this post.

Separation Anxiety Stinks

Separation Anxiety Stinks

My little toddler started an un-parented class in December 2013.  I was panicked the first day I brought him to the class.  I was prepared for him to have a hard time transitioning as this was the first time he was alone in an unfamiliar environment.  He walked into the room said, “bye” and I left.  He did not bat an eyelash.  He was happy to go play.  That was easy for him. ( I cried as soon as I sat in the van).  This happened for 4 weeks, no issues at all.  He would simply run into the classroom.  

Week 5, he went into the room without issue but, he started to cry when we walked away. (Daddy was with me.) The teacher had reported that he cried for a few minutes and then he was distracted by his peers.  He was happy when Daddy picked him up.  

Then the next week he did not want to go in and he cried.  He held onto to me, and the teacher had to pull him off me.  I kept it together (how I am not sure) until I was out of his sight. I cried in the stairwell.  When I went to pick him up I could hear him laughing and having fun.

After speaking to the teacher, I discovered that there were no major changes in the program (the teacher had changed but that was weeks before) and that he was not having issues with any of his peers.  He was not expressing any concerns about the classroom.

The only thing that had changed was that he was potty training. BINGO! He hit a developmental milestone that changed things for him.

It has been 4 weeks of the separation anxiety issues. He still struggles with going in the room; however, the teacher does not have to pull him off me. I can pass him to her with some minor whimpers. This is a work in progress.  I am confident it will continue to get better.

So what did I do to help reduce his anxiety? Here are some of the tips I used:

  1. Remain calm I did not let him see me get emotional.  I remained as calm as possible.
  2. Consistency I remained consistent.  I took the same shoes for him, followed our regular routine before class, and then I used the same reassuring words, “Mommy will see you soon.”
  3. Transitional object I gave him part of my key chain to put in his pocket and gave him a business card to put in his other pocket. He now requests the items before he goes into the classroom.
  4. Don’t rush away when the program is done.  I take a few minutes to sit with him and listen while he tells me about his class.  This way I can ask the teacher what he did that day and talk it up all week.

The main thing to remember when you are going through a similar situation is that this too shall pass.  Separation issues can be a normal part of development.

I often tell parents that separation issues are a sign of a good attachment.  It can be hard to not just take your child and leave for the day.  I believe this is a teachable moment and a great opportunity for you to show your son or daughter how to cope in similar situations.

Hang in there.  This behaviour should get better with time and consistency.

Keep on smiling and hug your kids!

 

 

Sleep: How Much Does My Child Need?

Sleep: How Much Does My Child Need?

Sleeping, Parenting FoundationsWhen I tell people that I am a Sleep Consultant for children, one of the first questions I get asked is, “How much sleep does my child need?”

Every parent’s dream seems to be to have a child that is a good sleeper. A well-rested child means his or her parents are also well rested.  In addition, a child that gets an adequate amount of sleep is less reactive, usually pleasant, have an increased attention span, and appears to handle daily life in a calm manner.

The amount of sleep that is optimal for your child depends on the age of your child.  Please keep in mind that the numbers I am going to give you are estimates.

Here is a rough guide to the amount of sleep your child would benefit from:

  1. Newborn (0 to 3 months) – 16 to 18 hours per day
  2. close-up portrait of a beautiful sleeping baby on white3 to 6 months – 15 hours per day
  3. 6 to 12 months – 14 hours per day
  4. 1 to 5 years – 12 – 14 hours per day
  5. 5 to 12 years – 10 to 11 hours per day

A very common reaction to this is, “That’s a lot of sleep.”  It is a great deal of sleep, especially for newborns. Remember this includes naps and overnight sleep in total.  An estimate of the number of naps that a child will benefit from are as follows:

  1. Newborn (0 to 3 months) – 4 or 5 naps per day
  2. 3 to 6 months –  3 naps per day
  3. 6 to about 14 months – 2 naps per day
  4. 15 months to 3 years – 1 nap per day

Marc Weisbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, 7) states:  “Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm. Every night and at every nap, sleep recharges the brain’s battery.”  I am a strong believer in optimal rest equals optimal behaviour.

If you are struggling with getting your child to sleep an adequate amount remember that you are not alone.  Help is available to give you and your child the gift of sleep. Please feel free to contact me, Brenda from  Parenting Foundations, to book your free 15-minute consultation at 403-652-7111.

Happy sleeping, everyone!