Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Telling Him to Park It

I get so tired of Logan's stubborn opposition sometimes. I am trying not to blow back to his demands with my own rigid demands and instead I am trying to find more calm and creative ways of dealing with this behavior. (Yes, I've finally bought Kirk Martin's CDs and I love them).

I suspect that with the Spring allergens, he has less frustration tolerance. I know that he definitely has a lot of environmental allergies but I remember seeing more oppositional behavior last Spring too. There was a huge change but it wasn't an everyday thing but overall the Spring was and can be horrible for us. So this week, I came up with at least one way to calmly divert him away from his frustration and impulsive tendencies and created the "Parking Lot."

Whenever, he wants to do something and it is something that is feasible but just not at that moment, then I tell him that we should put it in a "Parking Lot." This somehow validates his want and quickly calms him down. Also, as I put it in writing, I think I am making a promise that it will get done eventually. Believe it or not, this was an impromptu idea that I had because I saw that he was about to become very disagreeable during a transition and so I just pulled this "parking lot" out of my hat and instantly avoided a tantrum. I love how he responded to it. It took some time for him to understand but I think he got it.

I remember I first learned about the "Parking Lot," when I used to run job-training workshops for teenagers (before I was a publicist, I used to work with teens). The young people would have questions that were not wholly relevant to the direction of my lesson and so all I could do was put it in a "parking lot," and promise to try to get to it at the end of the workshop. This helped everyone focus at the lesson but still encouraged them to think freely and voice out their thoughts and questions.

I can't believe I'm trying it on a 5-year-old but I have a pretty sharp 5-year-old with sometimes very low frustration tolerance so maybe the "parking lot" will be a settling force as the Spring brings us new ideas and new challenges. If you decide to try it, please let me know how it goes.

Pictured: a makeshift "Parking Lot" If the idea takes well, we'll use a dry erase board or a nicer picture and paper. I let Logan put a check on the activity that was completed once we fulfilled out promise to play checkers with him. I used a check instead of crossing it out because I thought it implied that the activity was something we looked forward to doing rather than something we had to finish off. (By the way, Logan doesn't know how to play checkers. But for some reason, he likes playing with the pieces and board with my husband.)


Anonymous said...

What an awesome idea! At first I thought it was going to be a time-out place to sit but I really love this idea. It would also be a good visual for me to remind myself of this thing that we would try to get done. I, too, need my visuals. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

That's a really fabulous idea. I love it. And I love reading your blog, Jen.
Lorna x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the idea Jenn. I will try this with my kids. It makes quite a bit of sense.

You had mentioned Kirk Martin - I have not heard his material, but will look into it today.

Thanks for the great suggestions!

- Chris