Posts Tagged ‘child behavior’

Prevent Holiday Tantrums and Meltdowns at ANY Age

December 4th, 2012

The holidays are a very exciting and stimulating time of year, and regardless of your age you may find yourself overwhelmed, exhausted, and ready to meltdown from stress. Now imagine you are a child with limited control and resources to express and manage your stress. No wonder this time of the year can be overwhelming for kids and adults alike! Here are 4 ways to prevent holiday tantrums and meltdowns at any age:


  1. Overstimulation is… overstimulating! Running around from store to store and from activity to activity is exhausting for everyone, especially children who are sensitive to the environment or have sensory issues. All those bright lights and loud stores are enough to unnerve anyone.  Know your child’s limitations and don’t ask them to go beyond what they are capable of doing. Instead, arrange a play date, ask a relative to help out, have your spouse watch the kids as you go and take care of shopping or last minute details.
  2. Kids don’t always have the words to tell you. When children are exhausted and overwhelmed they don’t always have the awareness or ability to let you know that they are at their limit. Heck, even as adults we can easily minimize our spouse/partner when they say that they have had enough and need a break…”Oh but there are a few more things we’ve GOT to get done”! Listen to your child, look at their body cues, and help them identify when they need a break. By helping your child understand and positively express their limits you can avoid the meltdowns and tantrums, especially the public ones that leave you wanting to sneak out of the store from embarrassment.
  3. Get back to basics: Wacky schedules, too much sugar, not enough exercise will lead to mood dysreguation.  Keep a daily schedule with regular bedtimes and use a whiteboard to add special events.  Limit all those holiday sweets. A simple rule of 1 sweet a day can help diffuse the arguments over cookies and candy.  If your child drinks soda, it may be time to choose a natural soda or limit the amount of soda. Clean out the cupboards of salty snacks, toss the ice cream and other sugars, and get outside and exercise.  Head to the local YMCA, join a sport, or just get outside. Exercise helps reduce stress and regulate mood (and helps with anxiety and depression).
  4. Pick and choose what’s important. What do you want your holiday memories to be like? If you are trying to pack everything holiday into 4 weeks you’ll be creating memories, for sure, but they may not be the memories you would like your child to remember!


CQ Playful Creative Activity:           


Here’s a creative activity to help you choose what’s important for your family. Take a few minutes and some deep breaths then find some magazines (or just get paper and pen/pencils/markers).  Choose a few words that reflect what you would like this holiday season to be remembered as. Write those words or cut the words out from magazines and paste onto paper. Then write down all of the things you believe you “should” do over the holidays on a separate piece of paper.  Look at your list of things to do and remove activities that do not align with the words you desire to create. This can be an empowering activity for the whole family, to help your family choose what’s important (and not so much) for the holidays.

Set your child up for success by joining the International Parents & Professionals Community December support call with guest expert Deborah McNelis on  the topic of “Brain Insights: Make a Positive Difference for Children!” You’ll get access to positive and practical strategies to help your child develop a healthy brain.


5 tips so your child doesn’t grow-up to be a jerk, brat, or bully

July 28th, 2011

I’ve been reading about about the recent no-children restrictions on airplanes and in restaurants. I think  it’s an extreme response and feel that social situations are an opportunity for children to learn how to manage their behaviors in public and to develop social relationships, even when things don’t always go their way. Pick child-friendly venues such as water parks, the playground, family restaurants, the beach, or even at home in the playroom as opportunities to help your child learn appropriate social skills.

Many parent’s fear that their child may be left out or rejected by their peers or worry that their child’s behavior is not “normal” or typical. I want to share with you tips and strategies I teach parents and children during our child therapy sessions. These 5 tips will help your child have social success so they don’t grow up to be a jerk, brat, or bully.

1. Set boundaries: Your child needs to be told “NO” and as a parent it is important for you not to give in when they start to whine and beg. So when you go to the grocery store and they start to whine that they want a candy bar before dinner and you say “NO” watch how they respond, and what you do. If they blow their top with a melt-down do you give in and give them the candy bar so you’re not frustrated and embarrassed? What lessons are you teaching your child (hint: have a fit and you’ll get your needs met).

2. Give consequences: Children learn through experiences and every experience is an opportunity to learn how to cooperate, be flexible, and respect others. When your child acts out in a way that’s inappropriate think of it as a learning opportunity. For example, when your child grabs a toy and hits his sister, what do you do? If you ignore it then it sends a message that the behavior is okay, if you grab your child and yell you send a message that it’s okay to yell and grab. So think of consequences that can help your child learn new behaviors, such as speaking with your child and letting them know that their behavior is not acceptable and that the consequence is he will not play with his sister or the toy (be concrete and specific). Make sure the consequence is immediate and it is related, especially for younger children.

3. Do you rescue: When your child has a problem to you jump in to fix it? Yes, parent’s want what’s best for their children, but if you are always trying to solve their problems how will your child learn to deal with difficult situation? Ask them questions on how they could handle the situation and what they could have done differently and allow them an opportunity to explore their choices.

4. Watch your behavior: How do you respond when you get upset and things don’t go your way? Kids model their behaviors from the adults in their lives, so don’t expect your child to be calm and respectful if you are flipping another diver the bird or being rude to a sales person.

5. Create playing rules using this creativity activity: Brainstorm together with your child and have them come up with a list of positive behaviors or things they should do when playing with a friend or sibling. Then have them write the words and/or make images (depending upon their age and developmental stage). You can use markers, magazine picture, and words to reinforce the rules. Post these up at home or in the playroom and whenever your child starts to stray from the rules prompt them with a reminder “what are the rules” and give them an opportunity to self-correct. Your child will feel more invested in remembering and implementing the rules when they have taken the time to create and illustrate them.

These 5 tips will help your child create social success. Practice these with siblings and peers in locations where if your child becomes upset or overwhelmed you can help them manage their feelings and behaviors. If your child has difficulties managing frustrations and behaviors they may need additional support, and child therapy can help.

Are you worried about your child social development? Are you fearful that their social behaviors are not typical? Are you wondering if your child needs therapy and more support? We can help! Schedule a Complimentary Child Support Consultation and find out how we can help your child be socially successful.