When pressure mounts, parents and kids need to procrastinate like the pro’s. Doing so promotes an #EmotionalIntelligence skill. Time outs start the process.
Strategy number one for helping kids stay emotionally strong remains “Remember what matters.” What matters? In the long run the researchers and sages of the ages agree: caring connections matter most. And these are obtained by following the cross cultural rules preaching say “Treat all others as you want to be treated.”
Notice the rule does not say “Only treat family, friends, or tribal members as you want to be treated.” The rule says “Treat all others as you want to be treated.”
How this applies to children? The very young child is controlled by what s/he feels in the moment. Thoughts vanish in the flood of feelings.
How does procrastination help? By lengthening the time between feeling and acting and thereby encouraging thinking time. The emotionally intelligent think before acting. Not easy to learn; important for parents to teach.
Tip one: Reframe time outs. A time out is not and should not be a punishment. Make time outs “Calm down and Think” tools.
Tip two: Call the first part of a time out “Calming down time.”
Tip three: When the child is calm, call the next phase “Thinking it over time.”
Tip four: Release from time out with a “Naming to Tame” phase. The younger the child, the more you will need to do the naming. The word “Upset” is useful at this stage.
- “Calm now, upset because you could not finish the puzzle.”
- “Upset because the tower fell; calm now.”
- “Calm now, upset because you wanted chocolate and had to settle for fruit.”
- “Upset because falling hurt you.” (When a hurt caused to upset, the place for a time out is a parent’s arms. )
- “Calm now, upset because I said “No.”
Tip five: Always end time outs on a positive note. The younger the child, the easier this is to do by just asking for a quick hug. Once a child starts rejecting hugs, a simple “Thank you for thinking about this.” suffices.
As always you need to model what you want to teach. That’s the bad news. The good news? Learning to Procrastinate like a Pro will strengthen your emotional fitness so you can more easily model it.
Thank you for all you do,
P.S. This post inspired by a Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion which asked: Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!