Connection is more important than correction
- Attention: “You’re so mad mommy can’t play right now. You’re telling me how mad you are by throwing your things! Mad. Mad. Mad. I hear you.”
- Affection: “You are throwing your cup. I see you. Maybe you need some Mommy/Daddy-time, here I come for a hug!”
- Autonomy: “You want to do it by yourself. You want to pour your own juice. I understand that. I like to do things all BY MYSELF too!”
And then let her pour her own juice on a surface that won’t be hurt by a spill – they will only learn to pour with practice!
- Play: “You threw your cup again. Was that funny? It sure bounced (spilled, hit the fridge etc). That cup sure went high.”
“Do you like when mommy makes those funny faces every time?” (imitate yourself becoming impatient – he may find your reactions funny, and that’s why he keeps repeating the behavior)
And then offer to let him throw cups in the bathtub! Or try another large muscle movement game. Pat from Heal Thyself! had some great suggestions:
*Throwing is huge fun, so give him something safe to throw and something else to aim toward. We have hung balloons from strings from the ceiling and tossed Nerf balls at them.
*Tilt a hula hoop against the wall and toss bean bags into it.
*Lean over the back of a stable chair and drop quarters into a loud metal pan.
*Give him something to squeeze, like playdough, while he is sitting in his chair.
*Hold your hands above him, have him jump and touch your hands (adjust the height of your hand to challenge him more or less).
*Have him spin and jump and move BEFORE long sitting activities.
*Provide other fidget activities such as stringing large beads, pockets with velcro to open and close, or matching games (put all red objects in one cup, blue in other cup, etc).
*Basically, embrace the JOY and offer something to do *instead*.
Dennison and I have been having conversations about just what I was looking for! "Focus on needs- not on behavior." such a simple concept, but so complex! I recently set up a sensory table in the kitchen for Sawyer. Since it's so cold, I decided to fill the sand/water table with white rice instead of water. She's had a wonderful time scooping the rice, pouring it into various cups, funnels, and...on the floor! I have been hesitant to remove the table- I really enjoy watching her self-play, and love hearing the way she talks to herself while she's "pouring tea". I have been getting very frustrated sweeping up rice every day. I seem to always be halfway across the kitchen when she catches my eye and s-l-o-w-l-y ours out every single grain from her cup. It's really amazing how far rice can scatter.