Sunday, February 12, 2017

Those techniques we learn to avoid meltdowns......

This week, the pet population of our household increased by 300%. We have had Chloe for 13 years. On Thursday Simba and Tiger, two Scottish Fold cats, arrived. They had to be removed from Beryl's nursing home room at very short notice. (I'll save that story for another blog post!). We had also promised my daughter a 'baby bunny' (to be said in a cute, high-pitched voice) for her birthday. Her birthday is two weeks away, but yesterday we met the perfect bunny in Pakenham. We adopted it on the spot as there was no way I was going to do another 2 hour round trip to Pakenham for a 600gm fluff ball in two weeks time. My daughter named her 'Little Starfire'.
Little Starfire

So last night, we had Chloe, Tiger, Simba and Little Starfire all under the one roof. If we had been foolish enough to go out last night, leaving all the animals in the one room and inviting a pet-sitter over for the night - there would have been chaos! Within 3 minutes, there would have been two pets seriously injured, one cowering in the corner and one with a look of victory in their eyes. You could try and guess which animal met with which fate....but you couldn't be 100% sure unless you had spent time observing and getting to know the animals as individuals and in different combinations together.

In case you are interested, Chloe finds Little Starfire quite interesting and won't attack her. Chloe does not like Simba or Tiger and will chase them to the furthermost corner of the house if given the chance. Simba would like to eat Little Starfire, and Little Starfire is aware of this fact. Tiger is scared of Little Starfire but quite likes to eat her oaten hay. Tiger has had stomach issues in the past and must only eat 'certified cat food'. Fortunately, Simba and Tiger have lived together for 7 years, so they can tolerate each other.

Trying to divide my house in such a way that each pet gets access to their own food and water supply at regular intervals whilst not bumping into a pet they would like to attack or are terrified of is quite an art. One, I must say, I am rather enjoying at the present time. (Okay, so I didn't have much else to do last night!) There is a certain satisfaction in knowing your pet population so well that you can avoid any 'unfortunate situations' by following simple guidelines and avoiding scenarios that will cause one or more animals distress.

Parenting is a little like that too. However, our children have a much greater range of responses to given situations. Nevertheless, by carefully observing our children over time, we can get a bit of an idea about what pushes their buttons and when a meltdown is imminent.

For example:

If we have a busy weekend, where we are out all day Saturday and Sunday, our children are both going to be tired and emotional on Monday and Tuesday.
                   Lesson: Plan our weekends so that there is 'downtime' for the children.

If we tell one of our chidlren that they are going to be able to play on the ipad after school and they gets home to find the ipad flat, they will become very distressed.
                   Lesson: Make sure that things our children are allowed to use are ready to be used when we offer them.

One of our children lives with a hearing loss and takes time to get used to the speaking voice of an unfamiliar emergency teacher, thus making learning difficult when their regular teacher is away.
                  Lesson: Speak with the school about ensuring preference is given to using familiar teachers when an emergency teacher is required.

As our children have gotten older, we are allowing them the occasional drink of lemonade or frozen coke (gasp). We have noticed that if our children have a sugary drink plus something else high in sugar content, their voices become louder and their emotional reactions to things will be much stronger.
                 Lesson: Ensure that the children do not consume too much sugar in one day and be confident in saying 'no' to the children when they ask for that extra sugary treat.

These are some very simple examples.

For older children, you may notice that after they have a double period of English that they are more tired at night.
                 Lesson: Go to bed earlier the night before double English and pack extra low-GI snacks for school on that day.

Perhaps they have the habit of putting off assignments until the last minute and then have a household-stopping meltdown the day before the assignment is due.
                 Lesson: Regularly check to see what assignments are coming up and assist your student in setting aside time and space to work on the assignment. (This is where time with me at 'Exploring All Options' could be handy!)

Maybe they seem to feel tired and lethargic every time you have quiche - is there a food intolerance issue?
                 Lesson: Go and chat to your doctor about possible allergy testing options.

The list could go on and on. The message is - if you are finding your children responding in ways that are less than ideal, take note of what happened in the hours before the incident. Over time, you may begin to see a pattern and be able to adjust your routines or talk to the school about how things can be altered to lessen their distress and the impact these situations have upon the whole family. There are some things that our children just need to learn to cope with, but there are a whole lot of things that we can do to make their lives much easier too!

If you would like to chat about any concerns you may have with your child's behaviour, call Louise on 0425 792 189 for a FREE chat. I can help you explore some of your options.  0425 792 189

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