COVID-19 Tip Sheet #4
Tips to Help Your Child Navigate Their Time at Home
Derived from SMILE's FB Live Video Behavioural Support for Kids by Bridget Doan, N-Paeds, Masters Nursing, Restorative Yoga Therapist and Aliya Rahim, BCBA, Ph.D. Candidate
Tip 1: Stay active even at home
Physical activity is essential for all children and youth.
Physical activity allows kids to let off some steam.
Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child’s physical ability.
Tip 2: Get some fresh air
Spending time outside is important and beneficial for everyone’s health.
Try to regularly schedule some time outdoors and make sure to stick to that schedule.
Walks, bike rides, scooters are all great ways to get your children outside and moving.
Tip 3: Keep a regular routine
Setting a routine is helpful because when kids know what to expect, it tends to reduce challenging behaviours over time.
Try to start off with activities that your child prefers.
You can tell your child when to transition from one activity to the next so you are still able to instruct the child to transition.
It is important to include your kids in the routine making process.
Tip 4: Communicate on your child’s level
Children often use behaviour to communicate their needs.
Communication looks different for everyone (verbal, written, singing, pointing to pictures, etc.).
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to reinforce good behaviour (in the right way)
Reinforcement and bribery are often misunderstood.
Bribery is when you give someone something and then you ask them to do the behaviour you asked.
Plan ahead when using an external reward to help get the task done so it can’t be overdone.
Use tokens as it allows bridging the reward instead of providing instant gratification.
Make sure that your rewards are sustainable and not costly!
Tip 6: Plan for transitions between activities
Transitions go hand-in-hand with routines and potentially with reinforcements.
Children with different developmental diagnoses may find it more difficult to transition between activities.
Every child transitions differently. Not all kids transition the same.
Timely transitions are essential for functioning.
Always plan transitions ahead of time, especially for a preferred activity to an unpreferred activity.
Tip 7: Get a bedtime routine going
Poor sleep impacts all components of behaviour and your ability to do everything else.
Avoid or limit caffeine and be mindful of food items/beverages that contain caffeine.
Offering regular balanced meals that are based on the four food groups/balanced nutrition is important for sleep.
Carbohydrates and/or sugar-heavy meals will have a negative impact on your child’s sleep routine.
Sleep routines are essential and should be a series of 3-4 activities that the child likes along with some important activities before bed.
Instill a clear routine that should be as consistent as possible every night.
Tip 8: Take care of your mental health
If you’re going to make a behaviour change in your home, you should restructure the environment and know the emotional toll the change will have on you as a parent.
You must be certain before making a change that it's the right change for you, and for the family.
Keep an open line of communication with your family/friends/partner to be your best self because you need to learn to prioritize your own needs.
Remember it is okay to take a break when you need to!
Tip 9: Take online schooling at your child’s pace
It is best to check if the schoolwork your child is completing is enriching him/her.
If you find that schoolwork is causing your child stress, give your child a break from the task at hand.
Ask your child's teacher which tasks are most important so that you can reduce long exposures to technology.
Tip 10: There is no perfect
Use these tips as guidelines and don’t feel like you have to follow them strictly!
Do the best you can do and be sure to give yourself a break because you don’t want to impact your mental health negatively.
To watch the full Facebook Live, click the video below!