Ever notice how as soon as you try to get something done, your child’s behavior seems to fall apart? You’ve probably seen children playing nicely one minute and then you turn your head and the toys are flying. Or your child is whining and heading for a tantrum when, as far as you can tell, nothing has gone wrong. These are common issues for parents with children of all ages. And there may be a very simple solution…. Pay attention!
Many families are suffering from a lack of connection, fueling the fire of challenging behavior. Watch out for these attention hi-jackers:
Doing too much?
Many families just take on too many tasks for the time of day and number of helping hands. If cooking once and eating leftovers means evenings go at a slower pace, that’s a good plan. What else can you do to minimize the tasks and challenges in a day?
Going too fast?
Children do better when things go at their pace. Whenever possible, leave enough time during transitions for children to help dress themselves, to sing a “getting in the car seat” song, or to take a walk together between the end of a busy day and the beginning of a hectic evening.
OK, time to get serious. Screen time can be fun in moderation but create a lot of problems when overused. One of those problems is that they distract parents. The number one culprit? Cell phones. When your phone is in your hand, children understand the importance and the focus and feel the disconnect. Put it down. You’ll see better behavior and feel stronger connections.
Focusing on the consequences to unwanted behavior can get in the way of finding solutions. Pay more attention to the problem and work with your child to find a better way to get needs met.
Next time you’re trying to get dinner together and your preschooler is whining and swatting at the back of your knees, instead of a warning or a time out, try a little attention. I didn’t say it was always easy, but if you can identify the root of the problem, the solution may be, at least, more obvious.
By Jenni Watts Evans