Behavioral Regulation-2-Administer Small Doses of Fun

Behavioral Regulation-2-Administer Small Doses of Fun

Administering fun in small daily doses will be the first challenge for coach and parents alike. After all, what parent thinks about fun when their personal energies are sucked into

  • A perpetual whirlwind of
  • Frequent phone calls from teachers about a child’s behaviors, and
  • Unending fears or concerns for the welfare and future of a child?

 

[ctt template=”5″ link=”CIh11″ via=”yes” ]This is precisely why activities must be re-introduced in small manageable doses, so as not to cause further overwhelm. @parent_coach[/ctt]

You can be certain that the stress the parent experiences and has experienced, has robbed them of their ability to be creative. Their tolerance levels are stuck in a stress state of inflexibility.

Coaching How To Stretch and have Fun

When, in the course of the coaching relationship, it is time to stretch a client to consider initiating a fun activity with child or family, don’t make them think about it too much. Simplicity makes for an easier transition. Trust me, having to think about it will hurt. The brain under extreme or long-term stress suffers mind-blowing effects, literally!

Stress prevents the frontal cortex in the brain from processing and accessing stored or new information. When you ask, “What can you do to bring more connective fun into your daily lives?” and your client responds with,

  • “I just can’t think!” ,
  • “I’m so confused, I can’t sort it all out!” 
  • “I wouldn’t know where to begin.”

These statements reveal that the frontal cortex is overloaded, and is not immediately capable of making a clear decision. Thus, It makes sense that your client will have a hard time thinking of part or all of a creative plan for fun in the family. Additionally, it may be a case where they just don’t feel like doing it.

When parents are stressed and exhausted, it is difficult for them to ascertain where they will access all this new positive energy you are about to require of them. Coaches make considerations as to the neurophysiology of the parent, as well as the child. Therefore, parents must begin with the simplest of activities. Recall the analogy of the overfilled glass of water or the bucket ready to tip. Use these analogies to help your clients visualize or physically demonstrate where personal stress levels are for them and their child.

Focus on Being Goal Oriented

We are helping the parent to be goal oriented. We want parent’s to experience success and see the measure of their labors. We are not just filling them up with busy time activities because there is a purpose to every action they undertake. With this in mind we:

  • Begin by helping the parent to identify the end goal of the activity.
  • Ask the parent to articulate what they want.
    • They can write it down and then read it back to you. This way mind, heart, and body are fully engaged in the process.
  • What do they want to get? What will they give? What does the outcome look like, as in these four examples:
    • I want this activity to bring our family closer together.
    • I want this activity to help me feel better about my ability to parent in this difficult situation.
    • I want this activity to let my child know how much I love them.
    • This activity will help us communicate better and show that we can still have fun together.

Setting an end goal and keeping it in sight helps the parent to resist giving up when the first few attempts do not go well.

(The prior statement is a huge clue to each of you, that this is a process. Families will experience a learning curve depending upon the amount of conflict or stress in their environment, and with their child.)

  • Discuss a minimum period for a parent to engage actively with child or family. 15- 20 minutes is appropriate.

This recommendation is tailored to the family situation, and may have to be adjusted to meet the parent or child’s needs. For instance, 10 minutes of interaction is a lot for some parents or children, while 30 minutes is a great fit for other families to begin with. A joint determination of the period of time is made by parent and coach depending on the parent/child’s level of stress, and the ability to tolerate new interactions. Keep in mind, that additions to or changes in routines, and conditioned negative expectations of interactions between family members are all transitions, which upset the balance as the child or family knows it now.

Consistency and accountability affords greater success for parents.

See also: Behavioral Regulation 1 and Behavioral Regulation 3

 

Enroll Now in Coaching Families With Special Needs in Behavioral Regulation

Behavioral Regulation-3-Choose Successful Play Activities

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

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