Did you catch my blog last week? If not, then I encourage you to read that first - get it here!
Why is this important? Because this week's blog takes off where last week's blog ended -- we are in part two of a three-part series. I never want to give you too much information at once for two reasons:
1. You might not read it if it's too long. (Yup, I wouldn’t either.)
2. Small steps lead to big behavioral change. This is true for beings of all sizes. :.)
Part two of this series speaks about flexibility in terms of problem solving. Flexibility in thoughts and actions can be a challenge for small beings, which can lead to challenging behavior. Stay tuned for next week for the final strategies!
3. Intentional Problem Solving
As big beings we do a great job of accommodating our small being’s rules, but it is very important to teach them to share their decision process and to learn how to compromise. When your small being makes a definitive rule independently, I encourage you to not always go along with it.
Have your own opinion and ask your small being to problem solve a good solution. (Tweet)
For example, when you sit down to play with your small being, does he or she automatically pick out a game? If so, tell them you wanted to play something different.
Observe what he or she does. You may need to make this clear to them by asking: “What will we do now? You want to build and I want to play with dolls.”
Don’t give them the clear answer, let them problem solve and come up with ideas.
Once they attempt a solution, you may offer: “This time we can build together, since you want to do that. Next time, I get to choose. Okay?” Make sure that you mean what you say and take your turn to choose later.
4. Normalizing Difference
Talk about having different opinions and normalize that circumstance. This can be done with any topic – favorite colors, foods you like to eat, games you like to play or places you like to go.
Ask your small being what they like. Then tell them that you like something different. Highlight how it is interesting to like different things and how exciting it is to ask people what they think and like. This will teach your small being to be curious about others and to understand that people have different experiences of the world.
Make sure to practice adding in flexibility when your small being is in a good mood, as you want the process of behavior change to be a positive experience for everyone! The more you practice, the more the skills will translate to times that are challenging. Hopefully, you will change some of your small beings inflexible behaviors into flexible ones. This gives you tools and language to use in the inflexible moments. Remember it is a work in progress...small steps will make a big difference.
Ideas into action!
Find one moment when you are playing with your small being and state your opinion. How does he or she respond?
Leave your feedback, experiences and thoughts in the comment section below this post or email me directly at DrMarcie@BehaviorAndBeyond.net with your behavior insights!
With a little help we can all grow. Keep checking in weekly for more parenting insights at Behavior and Beyond. For personal insights that I only share with my email list, please join my confidential email list below