P loves doing tricks for us. He always wants to FaceTime with his grandparents and show them tricks. These tricks don’t always seem very “tricky”, but we give him the oohs and ahhs that he is looking for.
I also have some “tricks”. Some easy things that help P have good behavior.
3 Minute Warning- If we are about to change activities (leave someone’s house, get ready for bed, eat lunch, etc), it is amazing how much easier the transition is when he has a few minutes to get himself ready and finish up what he is doing. “In 3 minutes, we are going to clean up your toys. 2 more minutes until clean up….”
Hugs- When P is getting upset, I ask him if I can give him a hug. 9 times out of 10 he says yes. Sometimes I don’t give him an option. I get down on his level and give him a big bear hug. After a good long hug, I tell him he seemed sad and ask if there is something I can do to help him feel better. I can’t believe how that 1 hug can change the course of our morning.
Distraction- Unfortunately, the older he gets, the less this one works. However, it’s still pretty successful. Yesterday, M took one of the cars that P was playing with. P was obviously upset and could not let it go. I grabbed a good book and told P to come look at the “cool” pictures. Stolen car, forgotten. Sometimes I use the line, “P, come here, I have something very important to tell you.”
Set Expectations- When we are doing something that is out of the ordinary or something he really loves (like iPad time), it’s helpful for me to give P a clear idea of what our time will look like. That way, he isn’t surprised when it happens. We recently went to a friends for a play date and lunch. On the way over, I told P what we would be doing. “First, we are going to play. Then we will eat lunch. After lunch we will play a little more, but then we have to clean up and go home.” Then, of course, a 3 minute warning, “We are going to clean up in 3 minutes.”