Managing my child's behaviour at this time
Many of you have been at home with your children 24 hrs a day for the past 4 months. It is totally normal for tempers to be frayed and patience to be running low *yours and theirs). It is also totally normal for your child to be behaving differently at this time. This is a totally confusing, worrying and unusual time for everyone (adults and children), and this will present itself in many different ways for every child, and possibly even differently on each day. When patience has run out and you can feel yourself about to lose it, take a deep breath and try to think about your next words. Try these alternatives below, and see how it defuses the situation.
We also need to remember the fact that the children haven't been able to and still aren't able to do many of their usual activities or go to their favourite venues, and this will likely end up with the recurring sound of "Muuuuuum, I'm booooooorrrrrred!!"
Have a look at https://www.sir-francis-hill.lincs.sch.uk/summer-holidays-boredom-busters/ or https://www.sir-francis-hill.lincs.sch.uk/im-boooorrred-ideas-of-things-to-do-at-home/ for ideas of things to do during the summer holidays.
Below are out top tips for parenting and also a wealth of resources from BOSS (Behaviour Outreach Support Services). Take a look - there's some great stuff.
Top Tips for managing behaviour.
Remember there is no right or wrong way to manage your child's behaviour. Every child is different and will respond differently - what works for one child will not work for every child. Every parent is different - we all do things differently and that's OK - we also ALL make mistakes (me included - regularly!).
It is important to remember that your child's behaviour is their way of expressing themselves. They may not have the understanding, awareness or skills to say "I am so confused with what's going on right now, please could you help me mummy." They are more likely to act out, lash out at siblings or become defiant and argumentative. Others may become withdrawn. This is not them trying to be difficult or "naughty" - it is their way of saying "I need help. I don't feel OK at the minute".
Don't get me wrong, we are not excusing behaviours or "letting them get away with it." Trust us, we know with children ourselves, it is exhausting, frustrating and generally tough, especially when you are having a bad day or have work to do, but here are our top tips:
- Stay calm. If you feel yourself getting stressed with them, go and have some space.
- Even better, try and make time for yourself everyday - just a few minutes of peace, or watching your favourite TV programme, or having a cup of tea in the garden. Anything, just to have some 'you time'.
- Pick your battles - does it really matter if they get dressed today, or if they haven't had a shower? In the grand scheme of things, they are safe, healthy and secure, and maybe they just want a PJ day.
- This is the same with home learning - don't stress about it! Everyone is in the same situation - any learning they are doing is a bonus, but don't worry. We will sort the learning out when we get back to school. By all means, keep their brains ticking over, keep them active and, if they want to do school work, amazing, but don't create World War 3 in the process. If they aren't in the mood, leave it for an hour, or even the day. We called it a day and had a movie afternoon yesterday as we just weren't 'feeling it'. Back on it today and everyone is feeling better for the break.
- Allow the children to have their own space. If they share a room with a sibling, perhaps allow time when only they are allowed in that room, or create a quiet space somewhere in the house or garden.
- Encourage them to discuss their emotions if they are able and willing, or just be there for a cuddle if they need it. Make time for them - we are all guilty of staring at our phones or saying "maybe later", but let the children know you are available (physically and emotionally). Let them know it's OK, perhaps by sharing your feelings: "I'm feeling really grumpy today. I find the best thing to do when I'm like this, is to go for a walk," or "I just can't stop crying today, we all feel like that sometimes and that's OK. Come give me a cuddle, that'll make me feel better."
- Play with your children. This is as important, if not more so (especially at this time), to just play and be together. Play hide and seek, or a board game, even just play catch in the garden. It doesn't matter what you are doing, as long as you are smiling and laughing together. Take advantage of this time and find the positives. We don't often have time to play much when we are living our normal working lives, but time is certainly something we have plenty of at the minute.
Above all, remember it is OK to struggle. There have been days during this (lots of them) where, even though I know what I SHOULD do, I have lost my cool. That is OK! At these times, take a break, have a cuppa, call a friend.
Take care and if you need any advice or support, or even just a shoulder to cry on, use the contact form below. We are all here to help.