Holistic Behavioral Solutions for Parents
- Children like adults have physical needs in order for them to be their best selves; A good practice to follow is to keep the same regimen on a daily basis with no deviations for holidays, weekends, vacations etc. Children need a minimum of 9 hours of consistent sleep nightly as their bodies and minds are growing and forming daily. The mind needs a chance to process all that it has taken in during the day and adequate rest is the ideal way to do this. Bedtime needs to be consistent.
- Medications, dietary restrictions and vitamin regimens should be consistent. The American Pediatric Association recommends that all vitamins and medications for children are given as prescribed at the same time every day/ night. The body is a resilient instrument however the mind is sensitive to changes in sugar, additives, preservatives etc; Each individual responds differently to food which can be a great source of healing for the mind and body or a great source of pain. To alleviate mood swings and irritability try to keep blood sugar stable and medications consistent and don’t forget to take your vitamin D3.
- Try to observe your child periodically throughout the day and be sensitive to his/ her external triggers; perhaps there are foods, people or situations which cause your child to act out. Many parents can alleviate meltdowns and conflict by removing the precedent trigger. Your child like you needs someone to be sensitive to his/ her emotional and physical needs and in your role as a parent YOU are in the most effective position to do so.
- Children and adults focus better when distractions are limited; try to carve out time each day for just you and your child to communicate without distractions about their emotional world. The internal world is a rich and complex place and if we don’t allow our children to share with us what is on their mind, we are unable to rectify any issues that may come up later.
- Children NEED physical activity every day; it’s good for their bodies and their minds to let loose and practice their gross motor skills. We can benefit from walks, running, dancing or rebounding on a mini-trampoline as this satisfies our sensory needs in a meaningful way every day.
- Be the change you want to see…People are good at pointing out behaviors that they dislike but rarely encourage the behaviors that are being done well. In order to extinguish behaviors that are problematic, ignore/ limit them while focusing heavily on what your child is doing right. Children like adults thrive on positive reinforcement and praise. Praise your child in a meaningful way daily. Their self-esteem grows and you grow as a parent. Parents should MODEL the behaviors for children. If they veer off course, SHOW them how you want them to behave, explain in a calm and rational manner and repeat as needed. We ALL need reminders and they are still learning.
- Use appropriate verbal and body language when communicating with your children (and others). Don’t tower over them and raise your voice, don’t use profanity, don’t scream because next week, month, year, and decade they will be screaming at you. Get down on their level physically, if possible and speak respectfully. People respond to you based upon how you train them. Whenever possible, limit cursing in front of kids and NEVER curse at kids; it’s disrespectful.
- Limit negative external influences around your child such as TV/ Radio/ People that do not practice the desired behaviors. Children are little sponges and they pick up and repeat all they are exposed to. Parents need to consistently check the content of media and people in their children’s lives; if an influence is not positive, by default it is negative and will negatively impact your child.
- If you are having specific issues with your child, keep a log and bring it up in your session.