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Public Meltdown 101: Part II

In the last post “From Zero to Meltdown in less than an Aisle”, I talked about ways to prepare for and avoid meltdowns before you go to a public place.  Part II is all about tricks to try while the meltdown is occurring.  Tantrums are just a type of behavior which is most likely serving one of four functions.  The four main functions of behavior in children are to get attention, to get out of something, to get something, and as a result of sensory needs.   The first step is trying to identify “why” your child is having a tantrum.  This is important because you do not want tantrum behaviors to be successful in serving the desired function or the tantrum is more likely to occur in the future.  For example, if your child is having a tantrum because he does not want to sit in the cart, then taking him out of the cart is likely to encourage him to tantrum the next time he wants out of the cart.  Ok, this sounds simple enough until you are in the middle of the store with your child in full-blown tantrum mode.  Take a deep breath, you can do it!  The most important thing to remember is not to let the inappropriate behavior be successful.  Here are other things you CAN do:

Give your child a more appropriate way to “ask”:

If you do not mind giving your child what he wants that is causing the tantrum, having him complete an appropriate behavior before giving in.  For example, model and help him use an appropriate gesture to point to what he wants or word to tell you.  When he or she does the appropriate action (even with a little help from you), give him the desired item/action.

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Distract, Distract, Distract:

Toddlers naturally have short attention spans.  Distraction is a powerful tool for helping with tantrums.  Once a toddler’s mind is on to the next item of interest, the tantrum usually resolves.  For example, if your child does not want to stay in the cart, distract him by giving him the boxes of cereal to put into the cart as your helper…or let him make a choice between two options of what to put into the cart.  Talk about what you are doing and what he is seeing.  

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Push through it:

Sometimes, it is best to shorten the trip a little and push through it.  If you think the tantrum is to get out of the store, then I would suggest starting small and push through it.  Maybe only pick up a handful of items and then complete purchase.  This helps to set the precedent that sometimes we have to go to the store and tantrums do not get us out of the trip.

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Positive Reinforcement:

If you know going to public places is difficult for your child, make sure to give lots of praise for what he or she is doing well.  Also, rewards for appropriate behavior are options.  My note would be to establish this reward prior to versus during a tantrum.  Break the trip into small parts at first and provide frequent rewards to help the child be successful, then increase the time between the rewards.  Rewards do not have to be candy or toys.  Remember, some of the best rewards are social.  Hugs, kisses, pats on the backs make great positive reinforcement.

For children who have special needs

Public outings can be uniquely challenging for children with special needs.  Consider how noise level, social interactions, movement, and crowds may impact your child.  Consider your child’s strengths and motivations to help him or her learn to manage these situations.

Final thoughts:

Remember to consider what works best for you and your child!  These are just a few of many options!  No one strategy will be a good fit your every family.  Your strategies should fit your needs and comfort level!  While tantrums are a part of development, consider the frequency and intensity of tantrum behaviors.  If your child is having difficulty participating in daily routines due to tantrums or you have concerns about his or her development, we can help!  Remember, Babies Can’t Wait!  Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB:   http://www.racsb.state.va.us/

 

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Come Play With Us!

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The Parent Education – Infant Development program and the Children’s Museum of Richmond’s Fredericksburg location invite you to come and play with us at the inaugural “Special Night for Special Needs”.  This event will be held this Friday, RACSB.jpgJuly 25th, 2014 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. 

This event is FREE for children with special needs, ages birth to 10 years of age, and their families!  You will have full access to all of the museum’s activities, a performance by the Rappahannock Kids on the Block, and a special story time. 

The staff of the PEID program will be there to help children and families access the activities.  No need to RSVP, just show up!  If you have any questions, please feel free to call (540) 372-3561. 

Funding for this activity is provided by the Anne Felder Fund of the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region.  We look forward to seeing you on Friday!

 

 

 

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From Zero to Meltdown in less than an Aisle

You know the moment…The public spectacle that is the dreaded grocery store meltdown.  Emotions go from calm to red hot in a matter of seconds.  Panic sets in.  The line between sanity and a loss of all control gets very thin.  Oh, and your child is freaking out, too.  We have all been a party to the public toddler meltdown whether as a toddler, parent, or spectator.  Toddler development is all about testing the limits and learning to express independence.  Part of this learning experience is learning expectations for public places.  In essence, your child’s tantrum is part of a learning experience which will help him develop a sense of self as well as tools for community interaction.  Just because your toddler tantrums in public does not mean you are a “bad parent”.  I repeat, you are not a bad parent!   Take a deep breath, this too shall pass.  When this battle comes, it helps to be prepared.  This three-part blog series will include some suggestions to help both parent and child journey through this “rite of passage.”  Part I of the series focuses on ways to avoid tantrums while planning your trip.

 

Before the trip:

-In the case of toddler public tantrums, the best defense is a good offense.  Know before you go and prepare for the possibility of a meltdown.

-Consider how long your child is able to sit in one place.  Toddlers have different attention spans and need for motion.  If your child is not able to sit still for 30 minutes at home, consider whether or not he or she will be able to do it in public.  Plan your trips to the store around what your child can tolerate.  This may mean starting with quick trips to help your child be successful, then gradually increasing the amount of time.

-Plan to have something for your child to do during the trip.  Consider what your child likes.  Maybe a snack will be helpful.  Your child probably loves your attention, so plan ways to interact throughout the trip.  Talk about what you are seeing, get your child to remind you of things you need to get, give choices of what to put in the cart, or make your child your “helper” by putting things in the cart.  You know your child best, play to his or her motivation. 

-Plan your trips when your child is at his or her best.  Avoid taking shopping trips during typical nap times or when your child is feeling under the weather.  Your child will be less tolerant during these times and tantrums will be more likely.  Also, consider how you are feeling.  Are you at your best?

-Talk about what you are going to do and your expectations before getting in the car.  Your toddler may not completely understand everything you say, but this will help him or her prepare.  Consider having a “grocery store” routine.  Through practice, this can make these experiences and expectations more predictable for the child.

For children who have special needs

Public outings can be uniquely challenging for children with special needs.  Consider how noise level, social interactions, movement, and crowds may impact your child.  Consider your child’s strengths and motivations to help him or her learn to manage these situations.

Final thoughts:

Remember to consider what works best for you and your child!  No one strategy will be a good fit your every family.  Your strategies should fit your needs and comfort level!  While tantrums are a part of development, consider the frequency and intensity of tantrum behaviors.  If your child is having difficulty participating in daily routines due to tantrums or you have concerns about his or her development, we can help!  Remember, Babies Can’t Wait!  Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB:   http://www.racsb.state.va.us/

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It Takes a Village....

Parenting is not a one man show….or a two man show…or even a three man show!  It takes a village to raise a child.  Some families are fortunate to live in close proximity to extended family and often lean on them for parenting advice and support.  Many other families do not have this opportunity.  However, making a village is still an important part of the parenting job.   Here are some questions to get you thinking about why and how to build a village for your family.  As a parent, you most likely will have questions that you do not know the answer to or that you may not even know where to find answers.  Your “village” of trusted members can be great resources for answers or direction.

Members can serve as support for you while helping your child.

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Who can be a part of my village?

You can make decisions about who is in your child’s village.

Members can include extended family, friends, neighbors, doctors, teachers, support groups, religious groups, coaches, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

Remember, size does not necessarily matter.  You should find the right size “village” that works well for your family.

village1.pngHow can I build a village for my child?

Include your child in community activities.  Sometimes “villagers” find you.

Many communities have parent-to-parent networks.  With advances in technology, there are now online support groups for parents around a variety of topics.

Start with activities and places your family visits on a consistent basis.

Help your child build friendships with peers.  This way they can start helping to build the village.

Many communities have parent-to-parent networks.  With advances in technology, there are now online support groups for parents around a variety of topics.

 

Building a village for your child with special needs:

A strong support system can be even more important if your child has special needs.  Your village people can include others who understand some of the unique challenges you and your child may face.  You may get a few unexpected villagers including medical specialists, therapy providers, and/or multiple teachers.  Creating a positive relationship with all these members can foster a cooperative village for your child. 

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Final thoughts:

Remember to consider what works best for you and your child!  No one type of village or member will be a good fit for every family.  Your village should fit your needs and comfort level!  If you have concerns about your child’s development, we would love to be a part of your village!  Remember, Babies Can’t Wait!  Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB:   http://www.racsb.state.va.us/

 

Come meet and support fellow “villagers” in the Fredericksburg-Area:

Sunshine Event for Baby Brent

For more information contact Heather Frye (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Jen Sullivan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM (PDT)

Fredericksburg, VA

 

FAMILY FRIENDLY CHARITY EVENT.Tickets are $5 each and children 12 and under get in free.

This is a charity event for a local family who has a child was born with a major heart defect and has had many complications and overcome numerous near death experiences and still needs a bone marrow or thymus transplant to survive. His body has no T-cells due to his condition. Brent's family has incurred time missed from work, hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills and expenses and they need our help.

Read Brent's story here: http://discoveringabeautifulheart.blogspot.com/

Please support this local Fredericksburg family by helping them with their journey.  Sometimes the best way to grow your own village is by aideing someone else!

Find out more about the event online at www.sunshineevent.eventbrite.com

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If Variety is the Spice of Life, Then Routine is the Meat and Potatoes!

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Ever feel like you do the same things over and over every day?  Maybe that is not such a bad thing for your kids!  I enjoy “changing things up” every once in a while and trying new things.  This is one way we learn.  But, I also find routines comfortable and necessary each day.  We all have a different level of comfort when it comes to routines and variety.  Some people like to have every second of the day planned out and others need only one or two routines to feel comfortable.  Routines foster a sense of predictability and security, not just for adults, but also for babies.  Routines provide a framework for frequent opportunities to practice movement, language, and social skills crucial for development.  Research tells us that babies and toddlers learn best through what they see and do every day! 

 

Reasons why routines are important for babies/toddlers

1.  Promote a sense of security and predictability

2.  Allow babies to recognize patterns in their world and in other’s behavior

3.  Provide repetition for modeling and for practice

4.  Provide opportunities to introduce concepts of time

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Ways to make the most of daily routines

-Talk to your child about what you are doing using similar language each day.  Consistent phrases like “Time to Eat”, “Bathtime”, and “Diaper Change” help infants and toddlers begin to understand the meaning of words, practice following simple directions, and express themselves

-Use routines to set up consistent expectations.  By doing things in the same way every day, a child has the opportunity to learn what behaviors are expected at certain times.  This introduces the process of setting of limits.  Warning:  Your toddler will test these limits!!  This is developmentally appropriate behavior and is yet another way your child is learning!

-Gradually encourage your child to become more independent with these routines by having them start with one step in the routine and then adding more!  For example, a first step in learning how to dress is often cooperating with dressing (pushing arms through sleeves, legs through holes in pants) or learning to remove items (taking off hat, shoes, and socks).  As your toddler is more independent with these skills, you are able to help him complete more complex parts of the routines. 

-Talk about what has already happened, what is happening now, and what will happen to introduce your baby to concepts of time.

-Make one-on-one interactions with you part of your child’s daily routine!  You are your child’s first and best teacher!  Babies and toddlers learn through social interactions with their caregivers. 

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Final thoughts:

Remember to consider what works best for you and your child!  No one type routine or schedule will be a good fit your every family.  Your routine should fit your needs and comfort level!  If your child is having difficulty participating in daily routines are you have concerns about his or her development, we can help!  Remember, Babies Can’t Wait!  Contact the Parent Education –Infant Development Program of the RACSB:   http://www.racsb.state.va.us/

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About Brandie

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Join my blog to find early childhood developmental tips, tidbits, strategies, and activities to support children and families.   As a mother of multiple sons (18, 14, 8, 6, and 3), I know that life can be hectic, so all strategies and activities can fit in the context of daily routines and places families typically go.

I am enthusiastic about supporting families who have concerns about their child’s development and helping connect them to desired resources.

Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches is ready to kayak on the beautiful Rappahannock River. She’s also ready to learn more about how she can protect the river’s health using the Friends of the Rappahannock new River Report Card, sponsored by a surprise grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region (CFRRR).

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