Learning to read

All parents would like their children to become good readers. Yet parents are sometimes not too sure what they can do to help. Some parents, in their desire to develop their child’s literacy skills, may push too hard too early. Pushing a child who isn’t ready is usually counterproductive. The parent becomes more and more frustrated, while the child begins to associate learning to read with anxiety and failure.

On the other hand, other parents are so confused and intimidated by conflicting theories regarding the so-called “one right way” to teach reading that they decided to leave it entirely to the teacher and the school. In so doing, they unfortunately deprive their child of the unique learning environment which only the home can provide.

In determining reading readiness, it is essential to take one’s cue from the individual child. The child’s age alone is not an adequate indicator. Some children who are not yet ready to begin reading will be content to listen to a story being read or just look at the pictures.

The child who is ready will want you to identify words in her favorite books. When your child starts pushing you, rather than the other way around, it’s a good indicator that she is probably ready for reading.

How to foster a love of reading in the home: One of the best ways for parents to foster a love of
reading in all children is by reading stories aloud. Even after children have learned to read, they still enjoy having a story read to them. This should always be a fun activity —such as at bedtime—for both parent and child. Even in the daytime, a reading period should be limited to no more than 30 minutes at a time. As soon as the child shows signs of restlessness, it is best to stop and resume the reading at a later time.

Here are some suggestions that will help to make reading to your child at home more beneficial and enjoyable:
• Let your child have input—such as a particular interest or favourite author—in choosing the books to be read.
• Look over the material beforehand before reading it to your child.
• Choose a comfortable and relaxed setting.
• Let your child know the importance of this reading time together by eliminating distractions or interruptions, such as the phone, television or games.
• Read the book in a lively and animated manner, using a different tone of voice for the different characters in the story.
• Look frequently into your child’s eyes to maintain active interaction.
• Pause periodically to discuss what is happening in the story or to raise some questions. (“Is the little dog afraid?” “What do you think the girl should do next?”)
• Discontinue reading—until some later time—if your child appears bored or restless.

Other ways to stimulate your child’s interest in reading: Some parents put identifying labels on objects in the child’s room: bed, door, drawer, chair. Parents can also point out words on vegetable cans, cereal boxes, t-shirts, signs and billboards. The more a child becomes aware of the written word in everyday living, the more interested she will become in learning to read.

Using the public library: Parents can also make use of the children’s section at the local public library. This is a very good way to learn about an individual child’s special interests.

Connecting reading with writing: It is also a good practice to connect reading with writing. Help your child develop a story which you can write down. When you read it back to her, point to each word as you say it. After reading her own story to her a number of times, invite her to read it with you, helping her with the words she doesn’t recognize. It is best, at this stage, to ignore any errors she makes as this will only inhibit her desire to learn.

Finally, recognize and encourage her for the good job she’s done in writing—and reading—her very own Story!

 

The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of:
THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION,
2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd.,
Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG
Tel: 028 71365363.
E-mail: headoffice@lifestartfoundation.org
Website: www.lifestartfoundation.org

Praise and criticism

It is amazing how the language we use can encourage our children. Here is an interesting piece from the Growing Child newsletter distributed by Lifestart

There are two ways to praise a child for something she has done. You can say, as you watch her finish her latest artwork, “Oh, what a lovely picture. It looks just like a sunset. You are a good artist.” Or you can say, “I like the way the colours drip together. You really used a lot of paint this time.”

When you say her painting is a lovely picture, perhaps the praise fails to match what the child has actually done. She has been experimenting with how it works. You say it is a sunset. She knows it isn’t, but she keeps that her little secret. She understands that her picture has to be something for you to like it, that practicing with paint isn’t worthy of praise. She knows she isn’t an artist—but she’ll go along to win your praise.

The second way to praise states the obvious: She has used a lot of paint, and you appreciate that. You like the way the colours drip together. What gives her pleasure gives you pleasure, too. Her experimenting with colour is an admired skill. She did it well. Praising her this way helps her to judge her work appropriately, to feel that what she actually does is valued by people who count.

There are two ways to criticize a child for something she has done. You can say, as her glass of milk spills onto the floor: “Look what you’ve done. You are so clumsy.” Or you can say, “You put your glass too close to the edge of the table. Now help me clean up this milk.” When you tell a child what she is—a clumsy person—you judge her. She is always clumsy, and will always be. But when you tell her exactly what she has done, she can judge her action as it really is. She can avoid spilling her milk like that next time.

No parent exasperated by mud tracks on the floor or stepped-on crayons in the rug, can resist saying “careless.” And most times, by the twentieth scribble, no long really interested, we say “beautiful” without a thought. But if parents can avoid for much of the time praise and criticism that judges the child herself, and instead judge the product or the action, a child will become more able to measure her behaviour, to pursue what she is good at, to work on what is difficult, to like herself the way she is.

The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of:
THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION,
2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd.,
Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG
Tel: 028 71365363.
E-mail: headoffice@lifestartfoundation.org
Website: www.lifestartfoundation.org

Anxiety, big feelings, tantrums, sibling fights and more

Karen Young from the Hey Sigmund website provides some great insight and tips here into the big emotions and difficult behaviours which could be heightened at the moment

Facebook Live (During Isolation) – Anxiety, Big Feelings, Tantrums, Sibling Fights … and more.

Here are the themes Karen talks about and an indication where to find them on the video(The video’s privacy settings mean we cannot share it here but the link is below)

01:10   The ‘fight’ part of anxiety – tantrums, aggression, big feelings – why it happens and what to do.

04:20  Big feelings are a call for us to come closer (even when they don’t feel that way).

06:00  Why ‘little’ things can tip them over the edge, and how to respond.

09:25  When their anxiety triggers ours – when we fight with them instead of for them – why, and what to do.

10:50  The good news about self-regulation.

16:05  How to manage transitions.

18:10  Squabbling with your teen? This might help.

18:50  The opportunities that sit inside anxiety/anger/big feelings.

20:04  Adolescents, big feelings, regulation – what they need from us.

22:50  When big anxiety looks like big fight.

24:54  How it helps to ‘meet the energy with similar energy, but not similar anger’.

29:10  How mindfulness supports a long term strengthening of the brain against anxiety.

32:00  Dealing with other stressors on top of social isolation.

33:35  How to expand the capacity to cope with anxiety and stress.

35:15  When kids won’t talk about it.

35:25  Why some kids might be regressing at the moment (clinginess, asking for help when they haven’t needed it before).

40:00  Routines – how they help (and it’s okay if some slip).

42:17  Why does my teen hear me as ‘angry’ when I’m not?

46:37  How do we role model strength and calm when we’re feeling anxious ourselves?

49:50  Sleep – strategies to help with peaceful pillow time.

1:03:02  ‘Only children’ in social isolation.

1:05:31  Dealing with sibling squabbles

1:08:28  Social media and screen time.

Here is the link to the Hey Sigmund website and the video https://www.heysigmund.com/facebook-live-during-isolation-anxiety-big-feelings-tantrums-sibling-fights-and-more/

Shy or quiet: what’s the difference?

Sometimes as parents we worry that our child is shy but maybe they are simply quiet. How can we tell the difference and encourage our child to engage well with others? Here are some thoughts on that from The Growing Child, the newsletter distributed by Lifestart.

Shy or Quiet: What’s the difference

There is a fine line between “quiet” and “shy.” Shyness implies inadequacy, an inability to deal with people or situations, an inability to communicate thoughts or feelings. The major difference between “shy” and “quiet” is the child’s comfort and happiness. Is he alone or is he lonely? Does he prefer not to say anything, or does he want to express himself but is afraid or unable to do so. Does he have positive or negative feelings about himself?

The shy child is self-conscious and fears others’ evaluations or rejections. The quiet child is probably making evaluations of others. (Ask his opinions. His insight might surprise you!) The shy child is unable to reach out to others, take risks, or approach new situations. He holds feelings and emotions inside and may be unpopular and uncomfortable around peers.

Most people are naturally shy to some degree. We don’t rush into new situations, talk to every stranger we meet, or share our every thought, idea, or emotion. However, the quiet child has the potential of crossing the line into shyness. If he is not encouraged to communicate and does not express himself, he could develop self-doubts, real or imagined rejection, misinterpretation of others’ comments, or lack of communication.

It is important for parents to observe and know their child. If the child is quiet, parents can communicate verbally to reinforce the child’s self-worth and to provide a supportive home life.

 

The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of: THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION,
2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd.,
Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG
Tel: 028 71365363. Fax: 028 71365334.
E-mail: headoffice@lifestartfoundation.org
Web Site: www.lifestartfoundation.org

Advice for new parents – from The Growing Child newsletter

The daughter of a friend has just adopted a baby. The whole family is wild with joy, and doing all that they can do to support the new family. My friend asked me for all the advice she could give her daughter. After first warning her that advice could be the last thing the mom wants at this point, I decided to see if I could figure out myself the most important ideas for first-time parents to grasp,
and here they are:

• Get to know your baby. I’m not talking about the compulsive counting of fingers and toes that seems obligatory, but rather really paying attention to who this new being is. You’ve been busy imagining for some months, but it’s now time to throw away the fantasies of who you would have liked to arrive, and learn who actually did. Babies arrive wired for a particular temperament and way of interacting with the world and people around them. Life is so much happier for both children and their parents when we figure out how best to match their style. Pay attention to what bothers and delights your little one, and soon you will have figured out some of how to support this unique person as you move through years together.

• Get some sleep—and help when you need it. Young babies are ceaselessly demanding, with no sense of day or night, and no qualms about disrupting yours. The exhausting first few weeks makes most parents re-think the choice to become parents, so there is no shame in either howling or taking naps when the opportunity strikes. Superwoman didn’t have babies, which is why she can bound about so energetically. Right now, look after your baby’s physical and emotional needs and your own, without panicking that everything in life as you knew it has changed forever. (It has, but that daunting idea can be dealt with later.) As you move through years together, remember that it really does take a village to raise a child, and rested parents can be most effective.

• Get a life. Yes, taking on the care and nurturing of another human being is a huge responsibility, and your parenting role will influence your life forever, shaping the kind of person that you are and will be. Yes, good parenting is not something that can be done in odd moments or in your spare hours. It takes considerable time, effort and thought, and seeps into all other aspects of your life. But it should not become your life. Those who do let parenting become their sole obsession run the risk of becoming the most uni-dimensional people around, boring those around them, as well as ultimately their own children. They also are likely to damage their own children, the very people that they would purport to do anything for. It is not healthy for either parents or children when parents are so focused on their kids that they lose sight of the things around them that should also have meaningful places in their lives:
#Their primary relationships with  the other parent as well as others—the relationships that will   nurture them emotionally so that they have the wherewithal to nurture their children;
# Their meaningful work;
# Their own development as physically and emotionally healthy persons, and
# Their larger contributions to the world around them.

So that’s about it: get to know your child, get some rest and help, and get a life—focus on these three things, and the rest will fall into place.

 

The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of:THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION,
2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd.,
Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG
Tel: 028 71365363. Fax: 028 71365334.
E-mail: headoffice@lifestartfoundation.org
Web Site: www.lifestartfoundation.org

Resources for Parents at the Parents Centre on Gov.ie


For information and support on lots of issues you can go to the Gov.ie website https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/parents-centre/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/parents/

There are many useful supports available from information and advice to one-to-one support, however parents are busy and there is an overwhelming amount of information available. Parents Centre brings together new and existing resources that parents may find helpful. It provides a starting point to access high-quality, trusted information and support. Parents Centre is easy to navigate and helps parents access the information and support they need quickly.

Topics covered include:

  • Covid-19 information for parents
  • Supports
  • Parenting
  • Well being
  • Learning
  • Resources for children and young people

To access the site, just click the link https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/parents-centre/?referrer=http://www.gov.ie/parents/

 

 

How to build a happy baby

Here’s another very interesting piece from Dr Malie Coyne from NUI Galway. It was posted a while back on the RTÉ website but it remains very relevant today.

How to build a happy baby

"Positive infant mental health is synonymous with a child's ability to form secure relationships"
“Positive infant mental health is synonymous with a child’s ability to form secure relationships”
Opinion: infant mental health is an important public health issue, as research shows the quality of the early relationship builds the foundation for virtually every aspect of human development.Babies are hardwired to develop a social connection with their primary caregiver, usually their mother or father. Without this relationship, they would not survive. We learn about who we are through our relationships. It is within the sacred crucible of the most important first relationship, the parent-infant bond, that our sense of self and the world develops. “Infant mental health” refers to the child’s healthy social and emotional development in the first three years of life within the context of this “attachment” relationship with the primary caregiver.

This innate need for a meaningful relationship was described in John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory (1969), who believed that the primary caregiver acts as a prototype for future relationships via the internal working model, which is a framework for understanding the world, the self and others. Mary Ainsworth and colleagues further developed this theory in their observational studies of individual differences in attachment, including “secure” versus “insecure” attachment styles.

Put simply, a child-parent “secure” attachment refers to the availability of the caregiver to:

– Provide safety and security to the baby

– Attune to and respond to their needs

– Provide comfort when they are upset

– Share in joyful experiences

– Enable the child to feel special and begin to develop a positive sense of self.

“Research points to a critical window of opportunity that exists in the first three years of life, where the brain develops as much as 90 percent of its wiring”

Positive infant mental health is synonymous with a child’s ability to form secure relationships, to regulate their emotions, to explore their environment and to learn and develop cognitive capacities across the lifespan. Although it is a relatively new concept amongst many, it is “everyone’s business” and fast becoming an important public health issue, spurred on by a growing field of research and practice. It is the quality of the early relationship which builds the foundation for virtually every aspect of human development, including emotional, physical and intellectual.

Dr J Kevin Nugent, one of the world’s leading experts on early child development and director of the Brazelton Institute, referred to the revolution which has taken place in our scientific understanding of the capacity of babies and in the workings of their brains when addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2015. Research points to a critical window of opportunity that exists in the first three years of life, where the brain develops as much as 90 percent of its wiring, which is impacted significantly by the baby’s experience of everyday interactions with their caregiver.

It is this steadfast evidence for the critical importance of the early years which has sparked my passion for the area. My personal experience of primary care psychology in Ireland seldom focusing on children under three has driven my determination to change the status quo. I am not alone in this growing interest, as there are some worthy initiatives happening in Ireland, including the introduction of the internationally recognised Infant Mental Health Competency Guidelines by the Irish Association of Infant Mental Health (I-AIMH), the establishment of the Psychological Society of Ireland’s Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Special Interest Group (PIMHSIG), and the presence of localised inter-disciplinary Infant Mental Health Network Groups.

They highlight the message that nobody is looking for perfect; a baby just needs “good enough”.

A true highlight of my clinical psychology career to date has been my participation in the multi-agency Early Years Sub-Group of Galway C.Y.P.S.C (Children and Young People’s Services Committee), when we were given the task of creating a four-year plan for improving the health and well-being of new borns to three year olds in Galway city. Following an extensive consultation process carried out by H.S.E. Health Promotion and Galway City Partnership with parents, professionals and local community groups, we devised the Galway City Early Years Health and Wellbeing Plan 2016-2020, with a key target area being the promotion of infant mental health.

To this end, the Early Years Sub-Group will be joined by the H.S.E.Galway Healthy Cities and Galway Parent Network, to launch our “Building a Happy Baby” posters on March 7 in the Maternity Classroom at University College Hospital Galway.

Derived from Unicef and the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Baby Friendly Initiative, our plan is to display posters in every facility parents attend in an effort to promote the child-parent attachment and to dispel common myths.

There are four posters in all, each containing simple evidence-based messages which feature multi-cultural babies and parents which we plan to translate into different languages. They are positively framed in emphasising humans’ innate abilities to look after their babies and highlighting the message that nobody is looking for perfect, a baby just needs “good enough”.

Here’s a breakdown of each poster. Please note that babies are referred to as “he”.

Poster 1: “New babies have a strong need to be close to their parents, as this helps them to feel secure and loved, like they matter in the world!”

Myth: Babies become spoilt and demanding if they are given too much attention.

Truth: When babies’ needs for love and comfort are met, they will be calmer and grow up to be more confident.

Evidence: Close skin-to-skin body contact, postnatally and beyond, significantly improves the physical and mental health and wellbeing for both mother and baby. When babies feel secure, they release a hormone called oxytocin, which acts like a fertiliser for their growing brain, helping them to be happier and more confident as they grow older. Holding, smiling and talking to your baby also releases oxytocin in you which also has a soothing effect.

Poster 2: “Holding a baby when they cry helps them to grow into a confident and trusting toddler.”

Myth: You should leave babies alone so that they learn to be independent.

Truth: Babies left alone think they have been abandoned so become more clingy and insecure when you are around.

Evidence: Early separation from those we depend can be very frightening for a baby and raise cortisol levels in the baby’s brain, which shapes their developing nervous system and determines how stress is interpreted and responded to in the future. Babies who are held and soothed when in distress grow into more confident toddlers who are better able to deal with being away from their parents temporarily, rather than becoming clingy.

Poster 3: “Holding, smiling and talking to your baby releases a loving hormone in you and your baby. This makes you both feel calm and happier.”

Myth: Babies need lots of toys to keep them busy and help them learn.

Truth: Looking at your face is the best way for babies to learn. Talking, listening and smiling helps your baby’s brain to grow.

Evidence: Despite pressure to buy the latest gadget, what matters most to your baby and their sense of security is having quality time with YOU. In this “serve and return” interaction, babies naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expression and gestures and adults respond with similar vocalizing and gesturing. This process is fundamental to the wiring of their brains and marks the beginning of your baby feeling understood, building a firm foundation for self-esteem.

Poster 4. “Keep your baby close to you so that you can learn how to meet their needs and read their signals for hunger or comfort”.

Myth: It is important to get babies into a routine as that makes your life easier.

Truth: New babies are not capable of learning a routine. Responding to their needs makes them feel secure and cry less.

Evidence: Keep your baby close so that you can start to recognise the signals he makes to tell you he is hungry, tired or wants a cuddle. Responding to these signals will not only support brain development but make your baby feel safe and secure. A mother rocking her crying baby saying gently “you poor little thing have a hunger pain in your tummy and I’m just going to feed you now” is helping the baby to manage their emotions now and in the future.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ

Why ‘good enough’ parenting is good enough during the lockdown

As parents we are so inclined to put ourselves under pressure. Under present circumstances, when we are trying to be all things to our children – parent, teacher, friend, entertainer etc – that can be even more stressful. Here is a very good article from the RTÉ website which may be useful.

Why ‘good enough’ parenting is good enough during the lockdown

"If your children had one wish for you, it would be your acceptance that being a 'good enough' parent to them is just that... enough"
“If your children had one wish for you, it would be your acceptance that being a ‘good enough’ parent to them is just that… enough”
Have you had enough of articles with suggestions on “how best to parent during the coronavirus crisis”? Me too. Although well intentioned and often providing sound guidance, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information coming in through my inbox over the past weeks. It’s as if I’m drowning in a sea of advice. As if it wasn’t enough to be holding onto worries about our families, health, livelihoods and the state of the world, without our usual supports, over-exposure to advice can reduce our confidence and increase our fear.

For parents who feel a lack of control, our tendency might be to cling onto a sense of control in every aspect of our lives, including how we parent. This may lead onto perfectionist tendencies, where we try to control everything and take on roles beyond parenting. From the home schooling with endless lists of work and the challenges in “parenting from work”, to feeling like you have to tackle “projects” (because social media says so) to managing your own and your children’s big emotions, it hasn’t been easy.

Unfortunately this is counter-productive and it can lead us to feel like we don’t measure up to ourselves or to others’ expectations. Fortunately, there is a remedy. The calm acceptance of ‘good enough’ as opposed to perfection.

From RTÉ Radio 1’s Ryan Tubridy Show, an email from an anonymous parent who says they’re finding things really tough at home during lockdown prompted a flood of warm and encouraging responses from other listeners.

Introduced by British pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott in his book Playing and Reality, the ‘good enough’ parent provides support to what he called “the sound instincts of parents”. As I previously wrote, “if your children had one wish for you, it would be your acceptance that being a ‘good enough’ parent to them is just that… enough”. This stemmed from my experience of seeing parents holding high expectations of themselves, often pre-empting their children’s every need, driven by echoes of their own childhood wounds, guilt and comparing themselves with others.

So what can help to take that pressure off yourself just that little bit?

Learn to trust your gut instinct

Each of us have an internal navigation system which guides how we parent. Our intuition has been carefully honed by our lived experience as parents, our natural instinct in attuning to our children’s needs, and the incredible power of our attachment relationship in helping them be human, compassionate and resilient.

Resilience means learning to cope with manageable threats, while having the ability to rebound in the face of difficulties. The single most important factor that nurtures resilience in children is having a stable and committed relationship with a trusted adult, to whom the child can turn to in times of challenge or need. By being emotionally available for your child through these highs and lows, you are nurturing their resilience. You are enough. When in doubt, drop into the present moment, listen to what your gut is telling you and trust yourself to do the next ‘good enough’ thing.

From RTÉ 2fm’s Louise McSharry show, psychotherapist and parenting expert Joanna Fortune on managing kids’ nightmares, tantrums and screaming matches 

Let go of the fallacy of perfection

For many families, living through “lock down” conditions has presented many challenges, including a rise in conflict. The belief that ‘perfect families’ exists promotes feelings of inadequacy, loneliness and blame. Relationship ruptures arise naturally in every family. It’s how we repair these that matter, which provides a valuable opportunity to strengthen our relationships with our children and models for them how healthy relationships work.

When something goes wrong with our kids, rather than blame ourselves or them, try to see the need behind their behaviour, which is them needing you to organise their feelings. Taking your child’s distress seriously and acknowledging their experience as valid for them gives them an experience of being safe as they learn about feelings.

Get to know yourself as parent and prioritise self-care

To be a calm, loving and empathic parent, you need to take good care of yourself. Parental self-care is about recognising our feelings and taking the time to restore balance. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re less able to contain our children’s big emotions. If we nurture our self-care, however, we’re far better able to compassionately respond to them.

From RTÉ Radio 1’s Today With Sean O’Rourke, clinical child psychologist David Coleman on parenting during the pandemic

A few times a day, find ways to rest and allow space to open up to yourself. I know this is harder when children are at home, but using moments to soothe yourself rather than activate fear may really help. What do you find nourishing? Going for a walk? Dancing like no one’s watching? Having special family time? Chatting to a friend? Spirituality? Creativity? Playing music? Volunteering your time safely? Having a good laugh? Keeping up your routines? Whatever it is, find your potion and give yourself the gift of soothing and love.

If there’s anything this virus has taught us, it’s that there’s only one way to get past this. We’ll have to go through it. The same goes for our pain and difficult feelings. There is light at the end of the tunnel. And perhaps this quieter time may be a valuable opportunity to make peace with being the ‘good enough’ parent you already are.

If this feels too difficult for you, please talk to someone you trust or seek professional support. If you or your children feel unsafe in your home, you can access help by contacting Stillhere.ie. I’ve put together a collection of Covid-19 mental health, parenting and child resources and host a COVID-19 Special Broadcast for Parents every Wednesday at 9pm, in association with the A Lust for Life charity.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ

Pressing the pause button

 

In this extract from Parenting through Covid-19 – helpful hints to keep home life happy Sally Mooney from the Finn Valley Family Resource Centre talks about ‘ pressing the pause button’ – a technique that many parents find incredibly useful. Parenting through Covid-19 – helpful hints to keep home life happy is produced by the team at Finn Valley FRC and Springboard Family Support Project. You can download it at https://www.cypsc.ie/_fileupload/Documents/Resources/Donegal/FVFRC%20-%20Parenting%20through%20Covid%2019%20Booklet%202.pdf

Pressing the pause button

Pressing the pause button, what do we mean by this term? By pressing the pause button and taking a step back from moments of drama we get the

opportunity to see what’s really going on and then to consider the best way in which to deal with it. This results in a calmer parent which in turn leads to
a calmer child, hence improving family life for everyone.

Parenting takes the art of multi-tasking to a whole new level and sometimes, it can become all about getting things done and getting through the endless to-do-lists. This is especially the case now during unprecedented times of the Covid-19 crisis, when we as parents are trying to be all things to our children by filling in the missing gaps left by the absence of friends and teachers. This means at times we find ourselves reacting to our children with anger, frustration, or simple exhaustion.

By pressing the pause button we are taking a few moments to respond. This might mean taking a few breaths, walking into another room for a few minutes or if emotions are running particularly high, deciding to address the issue at a later time or when everyone has calmed down. By doing this we give ourselves time to acknowledge our own feelings and emotions, taking the time to think about how we are feeling and recognising that reacting in anger or frustration won’t help us or our children. Taking this time allows us to calm down and react with the patience, understanding and love that we as parents and our children need.

The Pause Button Technique is a really simple way to empower all parents no
matter what situation they find themselves in; it allows you to press your imaginary pause button, freeze time and consider the consequences of the actions you are about to take, before making a more informed, better choice.

The Parents Plus Parenting Programme states that: “rather than letting a problem happen over and over again, take time to pause and think about the best way to respond”. www.parentsplus.ie

Pause – Press the pause button
  • Take a step back from how you react.
  • Think calmly. What is the best way to respond?
Tune In – Tune in to what is happening
  • What is going on for your children? How are they feeling?
  • What is going on for you as a parent? How are you feeling?
Plan – Make a plan
  • What is the best way to respond?
  • What has worked well in the past?

For more great tips to keep family life happy have a look at the booklet

https://www.cypsc.ie/_fileupload/Documents/Resources/Donegal/FVFRC%20-%20Parenting%20through%20Covid%2019%20Booklet%202.pdf