Sunday, April 19, 2015

Phrases To Help Your Child Self Regulate

If you were a little mouse and lived at our house, you would hear these words quite often:

 "Remember to use your words." Or, "Do you have a mouth? Does it work? Okay, then you must use your words." 
We say this when a child is acting out or if he is struggling with something such as getting dressed we remind him to use his words and he will often remember he can ask for help.

"Good eye's, No you must look at my eye's not past me, good job!"
Children from hard places often struggle with good eye contact. When our children ask for something or are talking to us, we expect them to maintain good eye contact.

"Use an indoor voice, please." 
It should be obvious why we say this. :)

"Would you like a consequence or a redo?"
This is a popular technique used to give the child who has control issues a way to be in control but under his parents authority. It also gives children an "out" so they aren't constantly getting consequences.

"You must get rid of your mad before you may play again."
 This one is something our first graders hear pretty often. They get upset about something and when we have worked through the problem there is still some anger inside. We remind them of the various techniques they have to help get rid of that anger such as jumping on the trampoline, doing a job for mom, doing jumping jacks or tapping.

"Do you want me to help you figure out what is bothering you?"
The child who is acting out usually hears this. Kiana often needs this prompt before she is willing to admit she is upset about something.

"Do you need anything? Drink this cup of water then we will talk."
When a child is tantruming and will not/cannot calm down I offer them a cool drink or snack. This helps them realize mom is on their side besides giving them something they need but may not be aware of.

"Good job! Thank you for your prompt obedience."
Prompt obedience always gets praised at our house.

"What could you do to make mom and dad stop loving you? You'r right, nothing!"
A reminder given when a child is sure mom and dad do not love him anymore.

"Remember if you choose to lie, you get double consequences."
This one is heard when a child is asked about a wrong doing. (We only confront them when we know they have the ability to tell the truth)

" ..... I have decided to show you grace since you ..... Do you remember what grace means? It means getting something you don't deserve or not getting a consequence you do deserve."
Sometimes our children need to be shown grace, just as our Father shows us grace in our journey through life.

"Stop and think before you answer me, think.... think....think. Do I want to tell the truth so mom and dad can help me or do I want to tell a lie and get a consequence?"
Joseph hears the think, think, think pretty often. If we say it slowly and calmly sometimes he is able to tell the truth before a lie comes tumbling out of his mouth.

"Do you need a hug?"
Sometimes our children simply need a hug from mom and dad.

We have a host of other phrases we use to help our children stay calm and regulated however these are the ones we use most frequently. I am so used to these words that I don't think how odd they might sound until I see someone watching me with a puzzled look on their face. Our children are very familiar with these words as they hear them in some form or another multiple times a day. We began using them when we learned about therapeutic parenting but as time goes on we use these prompts for all of our children, much to Tristan's dismay. If he is being grumpy and we remind him to use his words, he usually has to laugh because he knows better than acting out his feelings.

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