When your little one is displaying an undesired behaviour (whining, hitting, talking back, being aggressive, and so on) the first thing you attempt to do is connect with your child. What?
So my child just whacked his brother and I am supposed to Connect with him??? Yes!
You are letting your child know that the behaviour is not acceptable by first getting eye contact, getting down to their level or sitting with your child. This is the connection piece.
Then you redirect your child.
There has been a great deal of research into the power of connection and redirection. That is great in theory but how do we do this in real life?
When children are acting in a manner that is not desired they need our support to teach them how to act appropriately.
When you connect you are reaching the emotional side of your child’s brain (Downstairs Brain). Once the emotional part of the brain has been reached you can then help them use the thinking part of their brain (Upstairs Brain).
Here is a link to the article I wrote explaining tantrums which explain Upstairs/Downstairs part of the brain..
Now that you have reached the thinking part of the brain you can successfully redirect.
As explained by Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson in the book “No Drama Discipline”, redirect means the following:
R Reduce Words (keep your words direct and to the point)
E Embrace emotion (validate the emotion)
D Describe, Don’t preach
I Involve your child in the discipline
R Reframe the No to Yes (Instead of no you can’t watch another show, yes you can watch another show tomorrow.
E Empathize the positive
C Creatively approach the situation
T Teach mindset tools
Now, do you have to use each of the previously mentioned steps every time a behaviour occurs! No, just pick the relevant steps. See below for examples.
That is a great approach but give me some real life examples of this in action:
1. Your child is screaming because you are not giving him what he wants right now.
You could yell and ask him to stop screaming (I have done this and probably will a few more times in his lifetime 🙂 )
Real life REDIRECT: I ask him to look at me “eyes on me”, he refuses so I go sit close by. I hear that you want me to play with you right now. “You are frustrated/angry. I will play with you after supper.” “I want you to play with me now” “I have to cook supper you could play beside me while I cook”. This usually ends in him either playing close by after he has screamed for a few minutes and I repeat I hear you.
2. Your child hits you (toddler age)
You could do a timeout for your child.
Real Life REDIRECT: I gently hold my child’s hand and I sit my child on the floor and state “if you hit you sit”, “we use gentle hands” and then I move on.
If I still feel that a timeout is needed, I take the timeout!
There are many examples of how this works. If you are wondering how to use this strategy with your child, put a note in the comment section below this post. Describe a situation you would like assistance with.