Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Come up with a frustration signal.

What you can do

Work with your child to develop a subtle signal you can give her when she’s getting overly frustrated and losing control. Help her practice responding to this signal by counting to 10 and then thinking of ways to approach the problem.

Suggest a phrase your child can repeat to herself when she sees you give her this signal. Ideally, the phrase will help her think about ways to move forward.

What you can say

“Sofia, when I see you getting frustrated, how about I give you a signal to remind you to stay calm and think about ways to deal with whatever’s frustrating you. What kind of signal do you think you’d be comfortable with and that other people wouldn’t notice? Ah, that’s a good one. I like that.” 

“I was also thinking of a phrase you could say to yourself when you see me give you this signal or when you’re frustrated and I’m not around. How about “cat, cat, cat, cat, cat”? You’d be using “cat” as an acronym for “calm and think.” I know you can be successful if you don’t let your frustration get the best of you.”

Why this will help

Children with learning and attention issues often need visual cues to bring them back to focus on the problem and think about ways to overcome obstacles. It’s important for them to feel they’re an active part of the process and that they can control the situation. Remember to praise your child when she responds positively to your signal.

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