Look for behavioural patterns
One of the most beneficial way to help your child at home is to look for their behavioural patterns. There are many benefits of observing and taking notes – it can help you understand your child’s behaviour, adjust your expectations, and find solutions. Often it is difficult for parents to know why their child is behaving in a certain way. Still, over time when you observe your child carefully, you will notice some behavioural patterns and you will realise that any behaviour that occurs over and over is happening for a reason. If you can find that reason, you can figure out a way to how to manage that. For example, if you observe that your child cries every day just before playtime, it might be because they are not comfortable playing ball with other children in the park. It could be due to their underlying condition of dyspraxia that prevents them from playing games requiring handling a ball. If you take regular notes, you will realise that playtime in the park is not the best time for them. So, instead of forcing them to go to the park, you could take them swimming, jogging, or any other activity that does not require skills they do not possess, and instead enhances the potential of the skills they have.
Behavioural patterns – Before and After
You might feel awkward to write down your child’s disturbing behaviour. Still, the fact is that our memories are not reliable and managing children with learning disabilities is a long and arduous task. Only taking down notes will help you see patterns that you may overlook otherwise. Sometimes you might notice your child’s behaviour is not related to the event directly but to something that happened just before the event. So, while taking notes, write down what happened and also write down what happened right before and after the event. It is essential to keep your notes organised, keep a small diary and draw tables/margins to record information adequately. For example, you think that your child screams all the time for no reason at all, but after taking notes for a few weeks, you realise that they start screaming as soon as you leave the room and they are left all alone. With this new knowledge, you can ask your child if they would like to come with you or wait alone while you go to another room.
It is also essential to note down what happened after the event, it might be more emotional to write that down, but it is equally important. For example, your child frequently drops their cup of milk at snack time. After taking notes for a while, you notice that you rush to clean and pamper your child after each incident, thus giving attention to negative behaviour. So, now that you understand your response, you start giving more attention when they behave appropriately and provide only minimal care when they drop milk or indulge in any other negative behaviour. Over time you will observe that the negative behaviour will disappear.
Behavioural patterns – Simple Observations
Compare your notes with your partner’s notes, and share them with other caregivers, like teachers and therapist, doing so will give you a higher degree of success. They can suggest looking out for specific things and will also give you ideas on ways to help your child in that situation. Share your notes with other parents whose children face similar circumstances or a trustworthy friend and brainstorm new ideas to help your child.
You should also focus on noting down the following behaviours in your child:
- How do they respond to routine?
- How do they manage transitions?
- Are they comfortable in groups or with a couple of people?
- How does your child interact with other children?
- Is your child comfortable sharing?
- Does your child initiate play or wait for getting invited?
- What kind of activities do they enjoy?
- How does your child interact with other adults?
- Is your child easy-going or tense?
These simple observations will help you structure your day efficiently, with fewer meltdowns and frustrations.