We are half way through another week. As we are all continuing to cope with uncertainty and lack of control in our lives, we may all be compensating by attempting to create control in other ways. Our kids may be more demanding of our attention, they may be trying to do things an exact way and they may be less flexible in their thinking. They may be more competitive with attempting to be first or to have a specific toy at a specific time.
Today’s target skill is to use problem solving skills to determine order. These skills can help with managing many different types of conflict or difficulties at home too. As adults, we often solve problems for our kids and we determine outcomes or final answers. Today’s skill empowers kids to pick strategies to solve problems and to determine outcomes themselves. When using problem solving strategies, it also takes the responsibility away from the adult as the outcome of the strategy determines the outcome. This way, YOU don’t get blamed for not being FAIR ☺. Try using some of these strategies to determine order or get creative and identify your own ideas.
Suggestions for using this skill:
● When presenting problem solving ideas, try using these steps:
1. Suggest an idea: “Let’s do ___________.”
2. Define therules: “The person who ________, goes first.”
ex. Rock-paper-scissors: decide on one round or best of 3
3. Check in: “Does everyone agree?”
● Practice whatever strategies that you feel would be appealing and fun for your family. Brainstorm other ideas. If you have electronic devices that help determine order, use anything that you have access to. If you have straws, cut them to different lengths and practice drawing straws to see who gets the longest.
● Use these skills to determine who will go first in a game, who will do certain jobs at home, who will shower or brush teeth first, who gets to choose the game to play, who gets to sit in a certain spot, deciding what specific rule will be used during the game, what TV show or movie to watch, etc. There are so many decisions to be made!
● Review and practice good sport skills and coping skills for handling outcomes that are not in your favor. Brainstorm positive thoughts that can be applied such as maybe next time. Notice and compliment your child for using these skills as needed.
● Talk to your child about the purpose of most games and activities. The most important part is spending time together and having fun rather than get the desired game piece or going first.
● Share the impact of these skills - they are fun and a good way to solve conflicts. These are helpful skills to get along better with friends.
● Go to Gonoodle.com: https://family.gonoodle.com/activities/go-with-the-flow for a short activity on coping with change.
Use these strategies for fun and enjoyment and feel free to be silly. If there is more than one adult at home, model this strategy by using rock-paper-scissors to determine who will take the garbage out. This can also be done with your kids for one of their chores - if they win, you need to do their chore. Be imaginative and help your child tap into their creative and flexible sides. It’s important for kids to see adults having fun and being silly especially during a stressful time period. The more kids can use these strategies at home with you, the better they will be able to apply them with friends during playdates, during recess at school, etc.
Enjoy your day!
Marissa Lloyd, LPCMH