I forgot to link to my other blog about the kid’s problem solving binder I created to help my 5 year old to help teach her about emotions, how to help her calm down and solve problems before resorting to tantrums and meltdowns and other unhelpful behavior.
We are in preliminary stages of learning here.
I hope to accomplish these things:
1. Help my anxious daughter properly identify feelings. Using books, social stories, puppets, pictures from magazines, to give her the words to describe what she feels. Without a feelings vocabulary, she can’t articulate what’s wrong.
2. Identifying stress signals in my child. Ask them how their bodies feel when they are mad/frustrated/scared/happy/calm. One conversation during our time using the binder, my daughter told me that when she was frustrated, she felt like hitting someone (though, it’s been years since she actually did that).
3. Reflect her feelings. Acknowledging that something hurts/frustrates/makes them mad etc.
4. Give her some tools (in the form of a picture chart) to help her choose something to help her calm down so she can think straight what to do next. That might be deep breathing, listening to music, being hugged, rocked, or actually left alone if that’s what she prefers (not usually).
5. Give her options to defuse her feelings if normal calming techniques don’t work. Running, jumping jacks, jumping on a hop/ball or trampoline, primal screaming (only if you aren’t sensitive to noise), acting silly, bear hugs, etc. Gross motor movement helps diffuse the intensity.
6. Once she is calm, I tell her I will help them figure out solutions that are agreeable to both of us.
For instance, taking turns, using a timer, sharing toys would be viable options for sharing issues. Hitting, yelling, hurting another persons feelings are not.
Over time, however long as it takes, the child will internalize the lessons. But, the key to the explosive child (and this is common sense) is to get to the child before things get too far gone in the meantime.
So, right now, it’s a work in progress. Right now we are doing well with stage 1 and 3, and somewhat of 4 and 5.