Written By: Nikki Morro-Parent Coach
Let’s face it, new experiences can be nerve wracking for both parents and their kids…mostly because of the seeming inevitable meltdowns, and the social anxiety that comes with parenting in public. Why is this, and how can you set yourself and your child up for success? Many negative behaviors are fear based, so the more you prepare your child for the upcoming events, the less likely they are to be caught off guard, and “act out”. As adults, we take for granted, all the life experience we have, that our children do not. Our little ones are so new to this world, and they are experiencing new things daily. Sometimes, these new experiences are met with excitement and wonder, but often times they are met with fear and anxiety. As parents, we can help take most of the fear and anxiety out of new experiences, by simply taking some time to prepare our little ones ahead of time.
1. Discuss expectations. Clearly let your child know what to expect, and what is expected of them.
2. Get resourceful. Use “Social Stories” and/or books, to prepare your child ahead of time, for unfamiliar life events. (i.e. making friends, going to school, going on a trip, etc.)
3. Stick to the FACTS. Try to keep the information as objective as possible.
4. Check in with yourself. Notice any feelings that arise in regards to the upcoming experience. If you are aware of YOUR feelings, you can more consciously lead your child through the experience.
5. Be sincere. If you have feelings surrounding the event, you can share them honestly. Try to express your feelings in a neutral way, to avoid projecting your feelings onto your child. Model for them how, you are navigating/processing these feelings.
6. Have a conversation. Ask questions to get a better understanding of your child’s feelings, and to coach them on self-reflection. Try to empathize, relate, and validate as much as possible with your child.
7. Come up with a plan. If some possible “problems/concerns” come up, in your discussions, help your child come up with a plan. Discuss some possible solutions/things that will help alleviate those problems/concerns. Having a “plan” will help you, and your child, feel more in control in an unfamiliar situation.
Preparation is a valuable tool for preventing tantrums, and other “negative behaviors”. Each new experience is a teachable moment. After a new experience, it is a good idea to have another conversation with your child…to check-in with them, about their experience. You can talk about what went well, what didn’t, and what you can BOTH do, to make the next experience better.
For more specifics on this tip, watch this video blog:
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