All you did was ask your child to clean up and get ready for bed. The meltdown starts. It’s the end of a long day, and you’re tired. She’s tired, and you just want to wind down. Her behavior seems to be getting worse, and no matter what you’ve tried, the tantrums and defiance continue. Just yesterday you received another call from the school because your child hit another little one. You’re feeling at your wit’s end and wish there was a simple solution to getting your child to calm down, listen, and have better days in school. Hint-Parent-Child Interaction therapy works miracles! But read more.
Some children are more temperamental than others. They have shorter fuses and seem to be more prone to aggressive behaviors. Parenting these children require special attention to what you say and how you say it. Perhaps this makes you feel resentful because you’ve done a great job at parenting your other children and they listen well. What we know as therapists, is that one size doesn’t fit all and what worked well for one, might not work for another.
Highly sensitive children need parents who are mindful of their interactions and words. PCIT works because parents learn how to interact with their kids, so they listen. Parents also learn discipline techniques that work and take the guesswork out of how to respond to negative behaviors. You can choose to ignore these behaviors but they only get worse in time.
Here are some easy things you can do at home to help your highly sensitive child.
1. Establish a daily playtime ritual with your child. It only has to be 15 minutes a night. During this time allow your child to determine what you’ll be playing with him or her. Try not to ask questions or criticize during the play.
2. While you’re playing practice these skills– Repeat what your child says. Here’s an example– If your child says –“I like playing with the blocks.” Simply say–“You like playing with the blocks!” Reflecting what the child says shows that you’re listening and accepting of what they have to say.
3. Praise your child but here’s the trick, be specific with what you’re praising. Here’s an example– “I really like the way you’re playing gently with your toys.” “I like how you are sharing with me.” When you’re specific with your praise, it tells the kid the behaviors that you’d like to see more often. It reveals that the positive actions that you want to see more often.
4. Imitate your child’s play! Here’s an example–If your child is pretending to be a monster, then you pretend to be a monster. This shows that you’re into them and enjoying playtime.
5. Describe what your child is doing. Now, this might sound silly, but it shows the child you are paying attention. It also helps to keep your child’s attention, and for children with short attention span, this can help.
If during playtime your child does annoying things, ignore. Do not give it any attention. Once the child stops the annoying behavior, then find a reason to praise them. If their behavior gets out of control (aggressive), then it’s time to end the play. Merely say–“You’re out of control so, playtime is over. Perhaps tomorrow you won’t lose control when we play again. Say it calmly and matter of factly.
Puzzled that these simple skills can help your child calm down, pay attention and listen better? These are some of the skills we teach parents in the specialized play therapy we use in the office. We also teach effective discipline skills that, when used consistently, turn kids into listening machines! We love PCIT because it works so well with children ages 2 to 7 years old.
If you’re tired of pleading, yelling, defiance, and aggressive behaviors, call us and get an appointment with one of our PCIT specialists. We know we can help to bring calm to your house and your child.
Call CCD today at 302-292-1334 x101.