Behavioral Regulation-3-Choose Successful Play Activities

Play Activities Contribute to Bonding & Regulation 

  • Coach, clinician, and parents choose an activity the parent believes will be most successful. 

That is, the parent believes they have the ability, skills and presence to initiate the activity, invite and prepare the child and family for positive interaction, and equally include each family member. The parenting coach and parent join in accessing and reinforcing abilities. For instance: Help the parent gauge stress levels and practice self-calming breathing before the activity.

Parent and Coach Role Play Words

  • Gathering the family, (“As soon as you complete your homework and Dad walks the dog, we will begin game night! You can make the popcorn!”)
  • Eliciting the child’s cooperation, (“Where do you want to sit so you will feel safe and comfortable? Do you want to sit near Mommy?”)
  • Words or phrases that convey inclusion, affection, or safety. (“We are glad you can join with us and play rather than stay alone in your room.”)

The parent must also be able to arrange the environment to facilitate their child’s success according to their child’s particular needs. For instance: Perhaps cell phones need to be turned off so as not to draw any family member away from the play activity. Kindles, tablets, gaming systems or other technology need to be put away to limit distraction. Positive ground rules or guidelines are established prior to beginning. This is what you, as a coach, will discuss with the parents before they introduce new activities to the family. You might ask them; “Looking ahead - What can you do to orchestrate success and help prevent a catastrophe?”

  • Can the parent pull from their resources and strategies to adjust the environment to help insure greater success?
  • What can the parent do to create safety?
  • Can the coach and parent pace an enjoyable game and then escalate the skills for a child over activities?

For example, if the parent knows their child has difficulty with close physical proximity to other family members, or, that their anxiety levels rise with increased expectations (even when they are positive in nature) resulting in undesirable behavior.

Attend to the Environment

  • Do lights need lowering?
  • Will soft music or deep breathing help with the regulation of excitement the child feels?
  • Does the child need to participate while sitting on a balance ball, or handling a fidget toy?
  • Does the child or family need a slower paced activity to begin, or one that will appropriately help release the child’s pent up energy?
  • Encourage parents to think like a kid!
  • Ask whether the parent is able to share a game or activity they remember loving when they were their child’s age. Again, this will be a challenge for some parents.
  • The coach encourages a parent to examine the roadblocks they experience preventing them from moving into a playful relationship with their child, rather than a blaming, grudging, and resentful relationship.

I mentioned earlier that some parent’s just don’t feel like participating. Fun! Bah, humbug! Consider this a normal reaction. It is the culmination of so much internal pain, hurt feelings and disappointment. It is part and parcel of the confusion and rejection the parent feels from the child, and perhaps, disappointment in themselves.

  • What is holding you back?
  • Where do your fears linger?
  • What could be the result when you decide to do this?
  • What will happen if you don’t do anything?

Regulate the parent first. Coaches help parents apply and practice self-calming, stress management and grounding or centering strategies by asking: What can you do right now, to organize and regulate your inner body and mind so you can make a clear decision you feel good about, and help your family to enjoy this time together?

Consistency and accountability affords greater success for parents.

See also: Behavioral Regulation 1 and Behavioral Regulation 2

Enroll Now in Coaching Families With Special Needs in Behavioral Regulation

Relationship Coaching Tool – High Impact Questions – Free Download

 Opening the space for a client to stop, reflect, and then respond can unveil bonus information—new possibilities may appear. It's a good thing.

 Michaleen (Micki) Lewis, MS, PCC, CPLP

 What Does High Impact Mean?

Relationship coaching offers insights into broader issues. Clients see with new eyes where they were stuck or how they created a problematic situation.  To dive deeper requires questions that have a high impact...and elicit the ah-ha that the client needs to know.

According to New Oxford's Dictionary, high impact means...

--impressive, bold, compelling, effective; punchy; forceful, powerful, high-powered, potent, hard-hitting; intensive, energetic, dynamic

High impact questions make a person think more deeply about an issue.

Closed-ended questions result in a yes or no and often don't get any deeper than that.

Open-ended questions can solve problems, and they may also generate a list of options or ideas.

High impact questions get the client out of a set way of thinking. When a relationship coach uses a high impact questions, it focuses the client in the present, the here and now.  You present problems to a client with an urgency that leads them to take action.

The Elements of a High Impact Question

The elements that lend impact to a question are:

  • It's direct and straightforward, dealing in reality instead of speculation
  • It encourages creative thinking and thinking at a deeper level
  • It promotes self-reflection

High impact questions move a client closer to attaining a goal or solving a problem. Your client gets things done by dealing not in 'why,' but in 'what' and 'how.'

Download Here

Which One Do You Choose?

You can take any question and turn it into a high impact question by wording it differently.  Imagine, for example, if you'd like to ask your client, 'What tasks would you like to outsource in your business?' An alternative high impact question that asks essentially the same thing would be, 'If you could pick just one task to outsource in your business today, what would it be?'

In the original question, you're asking something in the realm of imagination and ideas. The 'would like' of the question places it in the abstract. What you're doing with the second question is asking them to make a clear decision – which one would they outsource? You also put a time marker on it by asking them which they'd choose today. It becomes more urgent and real, and the answer leads directly to an action step – outsourcing that task. Such a priority question is used for to get valid answers. The right wording forces a person to choose one top priority, and that's the first step of taking action when you have many options.

Picture Yourself…

Here's another example. Instead of asking your client, 'What would you like to be doing in ten years?' ask them instead, 'Imagine that it's ten years from now. What do your life and business look like on a day to day basis?'  Even though we're using our imagination and picturing the future, you make it more real and immediate by saying 'what does it look like,' as if you were living it right now. This is more likely to produce answers that are clear and specific. Instead of saying, 'I'd be happy and successful,' they may say something like, 'I don't spend any time creating my own content because I have a writer who does that.' They've just defined a goal – finding and hiring a good writer for their content creation.

Part 2 – Listening

Turning regular questions into high impact questions that elicit clear actionable answers is only the first step. As a coach, you also need to listen to their response carefully and use it to guide them toward action steps.  The whole point of high impact questions is to get them into the zone of thinking more deeply about their problems and challenges.

Here is a free coaching tool which provides a relationship coach and client worksheet as well as a list of high impact questions to give you examples of focusing your client's breakthrough.

High Impact Questions