Ever have one of those days where you and your child get upset with each other and can’t quite move past it? Sometimes even just a little bit of conflict can negatively influence interactions for the rest of the day, whether it’s between parent and child or two adults. It’s not fun for adults and it’s certainly not fun for children. Children need positive attention; if they don’t get attention for the good things they’re doing, they’re more likely to act out to get attention. That’s one reason a “reset” is necessary. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a reset button (wouldn’t that be nice!).
It can be very difficult to let go of a negative interaction, but it can make a big difference if parents can make a point of interacting positively with their child within a few minutes of any negative interactions. For example, if you just corrected your child for climbing on the table (yes, again!) and a few minutes later you see that they are sitting at the table, praise them! Or if a few minutes later they are sitting at the table and coloring, talk to them about what they are coloring. Or sit down and color with them! Engage with them in a positive way and it will act as a “reset” for both of you.
A few tips:
- Don’t try to reset if your child is still engaging in negative behavior – this will only reinforce the negative behavior. Wait until they are behaving how you would like them to.
- Sound sincere! I know it can be difficult to let frustrations go, but try to sound genuine (yes, your child can usually tell the difference).
- Provide the interaction within a few minutes (again, as long as they’re engaging in positive behavior) – if your child gets positive interaction right away, it’s less likely that they’ll have the time to find another negative behavior to engage in.