I have been through this with one of my own kids so many times, and sometimes they need a lot of reminders and opportunities to practice.
Most parents, caregivers, and teachers will know when they have a child whose reactions don’t always match the size of the problem.
These are the kids that become completely overwhelmed when a peer is horrible to them…but also when their lunchbox won’t fit into their bag right away.
A child who cries uncontrollably when they fall and hurt themselves…but also when they want to have a playdate with a friend and their parents say not today.
It’s the child who screams when someone deliberately pushes them over and makes them fall…but also when the pencil they are writing with becomes blunt.
The reaction will not always be the same. Some kids have big, loud ways of showing their emotions, while others may go and hide in a corner or even try to run away.
Regardless of how they react, in these examples, we can clearly see that, in our minds, some of these problems are big and serious, and others are small and insignificant.
However, for our kids, at that point, a problem is a problem, and it feels huge. We cannot just tell them it’s nothing because, for them, that's not the case.
So, what do we do then?
We have various videos on teaching kids to solve everyday problems and more serious ones so you can check those out in your own time.
Right now, here is how we can help in overwhelmed situations:
Help them calm down. Some kids might need you to do slow, deep breathing with them. Others might only need a reminder or a visual cue to do it. Some might want you to give them some deep pressure input or to sit with them until they feel better.
In this moment, don't mention the problem. If your child does, just reassure them and give them time to regain control.
When they feel calm, speak gently and let them know that you can figure it out together.
Look at the problem, suggest a solution (keep it simple and avoid long explanations) and implement it together.
Provide just enough support so that they can be and feel successful.
After a scenario like this, make a mental note to chat with your child about the size of the problems and how to deal with different problems. It would be ideal also to practice coping strategies that can help them remain calm and in control even when they face challenges.
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Take notes of your child's behavior in your Tracto journal and how they respond to different strategies - this will help you figure out which ones your child finds the most supportive.
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