Discussion of dealing with a child’s temperament issues continues with amplification of the sixth principle: caregivers should identify and adopt strategies that can help them adapt to the child’s special temperament characteristics.
Coping with irregular schedules in young children
As I stated in my last post, we know that children with temperamental difficulties tend to live on the extremes of those behaviors. Further, we listed strategies to help children who are both high and low in level of activity.
However, caregivers can also struggle with the irregular eating, sleeping or activity schedule of a child. And a child may be extreme in her irregularity.
Strategies for children who are irregular in the schedules include:
- Accepting that the child may not be hungry or ready for her nap, but insisting on social rules
- Imposing regular bedtimes, nap times and waking time
- Insisting on regular meal times or sitting at the table for a normal period of time
- Giving the child time to get up in the morning and setting up regular routines for her
- Increasing her exercise and creating a healthy nutritional program
- Showing the child how to talk herself into calming down or calming through her specific routines
- Providing an outline for the day by using pictures and going over that outline in the morning
Children with regular schedules
Some children may be extreme in their regularity. For them, strategies include:
- Accommodate wherever possible the child’s need for regularity, maintain a rather predictable schedule each day
- Make sure that when a special event happens, you return to her regular schedule as soon as possible
- Prepare well ahead for transitions
- Discuss possible changes that are coming that may interrupt her routine
- Use visual cues such as calendars to show the child how the day will be or how the vacations days will be organized
Hopefully, these suggestions will help caregivers more easily adapt to those children who are difficult or too regular in schedule. Coping with the temperamental behaviors of the children in our care will not only maximize the child’s potential by supporting temperamental traits but will reduce or eliminate blaming and shaming, breaking the possibility of a negative cycle.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network
Source: Information taken from Pathways to Competence, Encouraging Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children, Second Edition by Sarah Landy, pp 50-51.