How to avoid a time out… (and where hugs fit into it all)

Time outs are often used as a means to ‘discipline’ a child.  It is seen as a way to teach a child not to keep going with a behaviour, by secluding them.  It is often used as a last resort by parents and is obviously more favourable than a smack.  Mostly, time outs are used by parents as this is what their parents used with them.  Without consciously making change, most parents continue to use the beliefs and disciplinary style that were modelled by their parents.

Time outs are not the only way to deal with misbehaviour.  There are actually two ways to treat your child:

  1. Use a disciplinary action such as smacking or time outs, which eventually gets your child to comply out of ‘fear’.
  2. Teach your child in a loving and understanding way where they went wrong and how to behave in a better way next time, promoting your child to respect you and to try to ‘do the right thing’.

By using the second approach, you will find less resistance, more positive change for the long term and a better relationship with your child.  It is not your job as a parent to ‘come down’ on your child when they are misbehaving, but rather to teach them how to behave appropriately, with love and understanding.

This is basically the same way you can treat teenagers.  The more you ‘come down’ on them, they more likely they are to rebel.  The more you get them to understand why you are asking them to do something or pulling them up on inappropriate behaviours, the more they will respect you and comply.

The trouble with ‘time out’:

  • Children just want to be loved by their parents.  Being secluded by their own parents stresses a child’s body physically and emotionally and temporarily removes that love.  A child then does not feel loved unconditionally.
  • There is always a reason for a child to misbehave.  Time outs do not encourage parents to look at why the child was misbehaving in the first place. They simply see their child as having acted ‘naughty’.
  • The child knows they have done the wrong thing by being secluded in a time out but may not understand exactly what they have done wrong, or how to change this behaviour for next time.
  • If the parent has not used age-appropriate language (roughly 2-3 word phrases for 2 year olds, 3-4 word phrases for 3 year olds and ensuring 4 year olds and older actually understand all terms and concepts the parent uses), they can expect the child will possibly misbehave in the same way.
  • A child does not always know to say ‘I didn’t understand what you were meaning/what do I do when this happens next time/why have I been put in my room?’.

How to avoid time outs

  • Choose to look at why your child has acted the way they have, before you assume they are being ‘naughty’ and acting against you.  Why is your child getting to the point of misbehaving?  Are they bored?  Are they excited?  Are they overstimulated?  Are they craving your attention?  Are they having difficulty regulating their emotions?
  • Use age-appropriate language.  Really stop to ask yourself ‘does my child understand what I am saying?’.  Do I need to show my child how to act instead.
  • Aim to teach your child what to do in each scenario.  For example, “no hitting…say ‘mine'”, ‘no playing here (with power point)…not safe…come play here’.
  • You may need to distract on from inappropriate behaviours (such as power points), when your child is too young to understand why they must not play there.
  • Identify with your child’s feelings.  Instead of sending them to time out for hitting, tell them what they are feeling.  For example, ‘you are frustrated…no hitting…come here for a hug’, ‘no hitting mummy…you are frustrated…you wanted books now..dinner…come’.
  • Use natural consequences. If your child tips out all the blocks, ensure they help to pack up, even if it’s hand over hand.  If your child bites a sibling because they are frustrated they ripped their drawing, ensure they help to give some love for the bite (hug, pat, sit with sibling, get icepack) but also ensure the sibling helps to fix the drawing.  Ensuring natural consequences occur is more functional than just demanding your child apologises.  ‘I’m sorry’ is easily muttered without your child learning any lesson of what their behaviour really meant.
  • Expect your child to learn their lesson the first time, IF you have explained it well and have shown them the appropriate action for next time.  Many children (especially young ones), will need to be shown a few times.  Be patient!
  • Be consistent.  If your child shows the same inappropriate behaviour, such as tipping out the blocks when you have just asked them not to, show them to pack them away again.  If your child is enjoying the attention of repeating inappropriate behaviours, move them onto another activity, without feeling the need for further punishment or lectures.  For example, ‘no more tipping….finished…time to eat’.
  • Trust your child will learn the appropriate behaviour, in time.  Keep being patient, modelling the correct behaviour and explaining why you do not approve of the inappropriate behaviour.

How can a hug solve the problem?

Very often, a child is misbehaving to attract your attention, even if it is your negative attention.  This perpetuates a cycle of your child misbehaving, gaining your (negative) attention and so they keep doing this to gain more of your attention.  Yes, sometimes your negative attention is better than none of your attention.

So try it.  Break free of the cycle and give your child a hug, as soon as your child appears to be bored or acting up to gain your attention….and see what happens.

Don’t hold your child accountable for misbehaving. They are a child. They are learning. You will need patience and understanding.  Be happy to teach your child and model how to act appropriately.  Life is too short.  Don’t waste your and their time playing the time out game!

Why you should explain WHY!

[18 mths +]  A child will always be more compliant, if they understand WHY.
So don’t wait for your children to ask (especially if they’re too young to know how to), but give them the answer.
Instead of just:
  • ‘close the door’, offer ‘flies will come in, bzz bzz, no no!’
  • ‘don’t touch that’, offer ‘it’s not ours’ or ‘we don’t need that today’ or ‘just for grown ups, it might break’ etc
  • ‘sit down’, offer ‘on your bottom, no falling….OWWW!’
  • ‘get your shoes on’, offer ‘no standing on rocks & hurt your feet…OWW’ or ‘the other kids will all have shoes on, protecting their feet….’

When you explain WHY at the same time you give the direction, you will literally see brains tick over…and hopefully see why you’re asking them to do so.  The catch is, make sure you’ve used words that your child will understand for their age!

Eliminating the elimination diet…with kinesiology

When it becomes obvious that your child is reacting to something, be it a food or an allergen or even an emotional issue, it can be overwhelming to know what to do and where to start.  You might be worried about your child’s skin, their inability to sleep well or a recurring redness in their genitals, their behaviour or a low immunity or many other symptoms that just aren’t ‘quite right’.  Most people will visit their doctor to begin with but others may be in need of further answers.  Many don’t know about the benefits of kinesiology in achieving balance in the body, particularly for children.

What is kinesiology?

Kinesiology, the study of movement, is an alternative and holistic therapy, combining both Eastern and Western medicine.  It is holistic in that it looks at health as a whole and addresses the physical body as well as the environment and psychological state of each individual.  By monitoring muscle movements or biofeedback, kinesiologists can determine where there is a block in energy be it structural, chemical or emotional, within the body.  This allows kinesiology to address stress, allergies and food sensitivities, nervous disorders, muscle, bone and joint pain, headaches, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, insomnia, and emotional issues.

And so kinesiology becomes extremely useful in determining exactly what is giving your child a reaction.

Benefits of kinesiology

  • It is non-invasive.  It can be done through a ‘surrogate’ and thus your child may not even need to visit the kinesiologist with you.  But otherwise, testing of food sensitivities or emotional issues is all done whilst the child may be sitting, holding their parent’s hand.  The kinesiologist pushes downward on your extended arm to reveal a strong or weak response with your child’s biofeedback.
  • Anything and everything can be tested for sensitivity.  This means you can see for yourself how different brands of food may react differently for your child.  You will also be able to see the difference between organic and non-organic foods.  You can test everything from children’s medicines to sunscreens to allergens such as latex (and whether this differs between balloons, bandaids and bananas – yes it is quite common for those with sensitivity to latex to have a banana sensitivity too).
  • It can save wiping out a whole food group if it is only some products that are the issue.  For example, organic corn thins and corn chips giving a strong response but organic corn cobs and tinned corn giving a weak response.
  • It is less mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting than starting an elimination diet from scratch.  The kinesiologist can test your child with a large range of food groups straight up and from there can hone in on different products and items involving chemicals in your child’s environment.
  • It can shed light on emotional issues impacting your child’s system and thus how their body reacts to different foods when under different emotional stress.  This may involve emotional clearing and allowing parents to become aware of the stressors in their child’s life.
  • It helps parents to question what is in the food they are serving their children and to use their own resources in determining the culprits.
  • You can claim it through private health insurance or make it more reasonable by accessing a kinesiologist who is also a chiropractor.  Chiropractors tend to do shorter sessions, so whilst it may not be as thorough, you won’t be paying for longer sessions (but you will get a chiropractic check up for your child too, making it even more holistic).

So yes, kinesiology is controversial as it is not visible to the naked eye as to exactly how it works and it is not under the medical profession however, it can be a very helpful way to achieve balance in your child.  The only difficult thing is… you will have to be prepared to eliminate foods and chemicals or discuss any emotional issues with your child, to help them achieve balance.

If you need answers for your child but are unsure, why not give it a go and see it for yourself.  Alternatively, you can access an IgG blood test through an alternative medicine practitioner which will test your child for intolerances to many foods.  But not to be confused with an IgE blood/prick test which will test for allergic reactions.

Please let me know if kinesiology has helped your family.  🙂 Heidi

Margarine anyone?

[Reading ingredient labels]  Well our Facebook friends have decided it would be good to look closer at ingredient labels to work out what EXACTLY we are feeding our kids.  It has become an interest area for me considering my family has found such a link between food, health, behaviour and thus living better.  So here goes!
 
DESPITE the fact that margarine is a highly processed food and is claimed to be carcinogenic, take a look at the ingredient labels of these three random butter spreads. Which one would you pick?
hello headaches and undesirable behaviour...or not?

hello headaches and undesirable behaviour…or not?

There is a clear… winner without the preservatives, COLOUR (?!), soy lecithin, vegetable gum, vegetable/canola oil, FLAVOUR and several other not-so-natural ingredients. Not to mention the added vitamins that butter naturally contains. (It’s Mainland Buttersoft if you couldn’t pick it!)
I’d certainly trust a cow over a chemist once you’ve seen the process of how margarine is made.
Better yet, go for plain butter or even coconut oil.

Remember to look at the labels and pick a better alternative where there is one! And why not check out what your butter/margarine has in it’s ingredient list right now…?

Take a look at the link in the comments for more information on why plain old butter is better than margarine/spreads..
And Dr. Joseph Mercola or Changing Habits will give you all the information you need if you’re interested in knowing more about what food does or doesn’t do for our health.

10 tips to more peaceful sharing

Come 18 months, your child may be up for the dreaded tantrums and the beginning of ‘mine’.  You see for the first couple of years, a child believes they are an extension of their mother, until through brain development, the little one works out they are actually their own person…..  Bring on Master Independence, Miss No and little Master MINE!  These once innocent children suddenly have their own thoughts, feelings, opinions and honestly believe that everything IS theirs.  It might be hard to believe sometimes, but your child is not trying to cause fights because they want to.  They are not naughty.

So how do you help your child to share and take turns, especially when other children are in the equation?  The first thing to have a think about is the difference between sharing and turn-taking.  There is a difference!  So sharing means that your child may give part of something in their possession whilst they share it with the other child (think ‘here you can have one of my grapes’, ‘you can draw with my pencils with me’).  This can be easier than turn-taking which involves handing treasured items over and spending agonising time waiting for who-knows-how-long.  For this post, I will talk about sharing meaning both sharing and turn-taking.

There may not be a correct answer, but one question I do ask is ‘how much should a parent step in and coordinate sharing?‘ versus stepping back and letting children learn through experience (obviously not to the point of physical aggression).  

Here are 10 points to think about when dealing with children struggling to share.

1. It depends on age.  The way you help your two-year-old to share will be very different to your four-year-old.  You may step in less with the older children and leave them to sort things out of their own accord.  For the younger ones, you will use far less language to help negotiate sharing (think 2 word phrases until you are sure they understand, through repetition, how sharing works).

2. Have a rule on ‘special toys’ that you will always stand up for.  Your child needs to know and understand which toys are their own ‘special toys’ that other children are not allowed free access to (think special present, comforter, favourite book).  The less the better, to avoid extra work for you and your child ‘protecting’ them all.  These are the ones you might pack away when other children come to visit or you will always give back to it’s owner if the sibling manages to get hold!

3. Teach the concept ‘wait’.  Waiting is a very hard concept for a young child to grasp as it happens in many different scenarios (think waiting in line at the post office, waiting for dinner, waiting for a turn on the swing) and it is nearly always for a different length in time.  Sometimes it’s not even clear to the child when waiting has finished (unless you signal ‘finished waiting’).  Learning and defining the sign ‘wait’ (click on hyperlink to see) can be ideal as you will most likely be signing this for a while to come in many scenarios, especially in turn-taking and even when you can’t talk (think mouth full, on the phone).  Signing can also help to distract your child.

4.  Have a rule about ‘no touching’ (snatching) when another child has their hands on a toy and ‘use your words’ instead.  You can reinforce this even for the youngest ones by helping your child to take their hands off the toy being used and model ‘mine?’ (placing their hand on their chest can be a good natural gesture (my/mine) to reinforce the concept).  This is when you sign ‘wait’.  Part 2 of this post will go into more about what to do when the other child says ‘no!’.

5. Ensure a consistent waiting time for each child.  If there are any little ones involved, you might have to stick with ‘two minutes’ for everyone’s turns.  Preschool kids can definitely learn to wait longer such as ‘five minutes’ or ‘until Jack has ridden around the path’ or ‘when Sarah has finished her painting’.

6. Be consistent with the language you use.  Children will share better when they understand how the ‘rules’ work.  Using repetitive language (such as ‘Johnny’s turn, Sarah’s turn next…wait….then Sarah’s turn’) helps to make each sharing scenario more predictable and hence help to keep your child calmer. 

Think about this: The child that can stop and listen to your words about how the sharing scenario will work, and understand that they will have another turn after a short period (say 2 minutes), will be more likely to succeed at sharing than the one that doesn’t understand what is happening and allows their brain to ‘flip it’s lid’ (meaning they get so worked up they then cannot think straight to calm down and understand the situation).  Because of this, it is so important to pick the best words for your child to understand and say them the same way each time.

7. Choose your battles.  Sometimes it is easier just to have two of the same item, when you know it will matter!

8. The more you put in, the more you get back.  It can be hard work negotiating but as I’ve said above, the more consistent you are in setting up the rules, the quicker your children will come around and hopefully transfer this to sharing with others outside the home.  Sometimes you will be just putting in energy not stepping in and seeing how the children learn themselves.

9. Keep in mind personality.  Some children are more easy-going and yes this transfers onto sharing.  They will probably be able to let go of their turn much more easily than the persistent child that digs their heels in and resists transitions (especially without warning!).  Not that you want to treat each child differently, but you will want to give more understanding for these persistent ones ;).

10. Mind the ‘martyrdom’.  This can be a tricky one for some parents.  Does your child really need you to step in and help?

Stay tuned for Part 2 – The ‘sharing’ cartoon strip!

Thanks for visiting I raise my kids! You can also find us on Facebook for more tips as well as posts or on Google+ 🙂 Heidi

Most clicked on 2013

An early happy new year to everyone! I will take the chance again to say thanks for being supporters of I Raise My Kids.
This week I’ll be reposting the most clicked on posts from I Raise My Kids.
Actually the most clicked on is ‘about me’ so starting with that, I’ll give a quick summary about who I am, so you know where I am coming from with the posts that I put up here!
I am Heidi, a mum of 2 boys (getting closer to 2 and 4 years) and a paediatric speech pathologist. I am very interested in child development which includes everything from communication, cognitive, social-emotional and even physical development. I am also interested in play, literacy and picky eating/developing healthy eating.
We have been down a road and a half working out the cause of Master 3’s ‘ADHD’ and eczema and have since come across food intolerances, kinesiology and working towards more of a Paleo ‘lifestyle’ so hence I post about this as well. Working with children, I am starting to realise there is a lot more of the unnecessary behavioural problems as well as other health issues that creep up, relating to not only diet but also emotional issues.
I hope that if anyone ever has questions or concerns that they would like more information on, relating to any of the above topics, please send me a message. I am more than happy to try and help!!

Sibling Squabbles

Who doesn’t fight with their sisters or brothers?? It is a normal part of growing up!!! But when does it become not acceptable!!!
Hitting or hurting each other is a ‘non negotiable’ in our house!!! It is not allowed and not accepted. I do not hit my children and I expect them to be able to manage their arguments and emotions without the use of ‘physical violence’!!!
From this
So how do you teach a 4 year old and a 2 year old how to resolve conflict when most adults struggle to do this???
Here are some beginning points:
1. Role model appropriate behaviour in any argument. You must understand that everything you say or do is direct lesson to how your children will behave!!!
We cant be perfect all the time and that is absolutely fine. In any argument it is really hard to keep rational but try and label your emotions to your children. “Mummy is feeling really sad and frustrated”.
To this
2. Get involved and be the person to help bridge the gap. Mediate until they are able to find their own resolution. For example: when they have a ‘disagreement’ give them the words to help them solve it. “You are feeling frustrated and angry that your sister isn’t listening to you”….. Ok, lets have turns talking and listening.
and ends in this
3. Understand that part of learning is to have the opportunity to work through problems in a caring, supportive environment. Sharing is a hard concept to learn. Why should I share this toy?? What internally makes us share with our siblings, parents, friends….really only the understanding that this is a social rule (I will explain about social rules in another post).
Ok so the points above are a few brief points on what to do when the ‘fight’ breaks out. But like everything Heidi and I talk about, it is more about the before!!! You need to teach your children how to interact with each other. If your children fight all the time then that is how they will learn to interact with others. If you teach them to interact to each other in a caring, supportive, empathetic and loving ways they will be able to make great friendships and choose to not be involved in the ‘not so good’ friendships.
As a family we do lots of ‘building’ of relationships and I offer ways for the girls to express their love for each other. Here are some pointers:
Find time in our busy lives to express our love to each other. Through touch, words and drawings.
TOUCH:
After bath time we play ‘Incy Wincy Spider’.
One girl sits in front of the other and the girl at the back runs her fingers up and down her back.
It goes “Incy wincy spider, climbed up the water spout”. The fingers go all the way to the top of the head. “Down came the rain”, fingers run down the back “and washed poor Incy Out!” fingers run up and down back. “Out came the sun” Fingers creep up the back to head and make a sun. “and dried up all the rain” fingers down the back “So Incy wincy spider went up the spout again” fingers back up the back.
Then we swap. You can also teach your children some massage techniques, we also do ‘squeezing shoulders and tickling backs’.
WORDS:
“Goodnight, what did you love about “Miss 2″ ?” “What actions of friendship did you do today?”
DRAWINGS: We have a love wall, it has photos, letters and drawings to each other. This is what Miss 2 likes to have a look at before she goes to bed. We are about to make a book.
love wall
I would love to hear about how you and your family express love to each other!! These are just a few things we do but sometimes the ‘unsaid’ needs to be said ‘daily’!!!
Please come and like us on our Facebook page for little extra bits of information. Also don’t forget to subscribe to our blog so you can get our latest postings emailed directly to you, so you wont miss any ‘pearls of wisdom’ 🙂
🙂 Kara