Thursday, July 12, 2012

One to Get Ready ...

I am starting to realize that preparation ahead of new or uncertain events translates into much better chances of success for James. If only I wasn't so tired of having to do this for every. little. thing. Sometimes for both kids. Is that enough whine? Then bring on the cheese!

For the first time in almost four months, I brought both kids to Kids Klub at our gym so I could work out. James had started to get so difficult that the staff no longer was confident they could care for him, and the Director had to call and have a little chat with me to see if we could improve the dynamics  ... aka change his behaviours for the better. This, by the way, I totally support. I give her all kinds of credit to call up a parent, describe what isn't working, and invite ideas for resolution in the kindest possible way.

Well, I've been overwhelmed. Stuff happened and it was easier to take them to the pool for swimming or use respite care. But now it's time to get back into my aerobic workouts and try to take care of myself. First things first, though, and I had to tackle James' behavioural issues, which involved eating paper and toys, yelling, and becoming stormy and inconsolable.

So this past year or has taught me that I need to be clear about activities that are okay for James and define the things he needs to remember to do. So I came up with a list that is based on his activity board and his school's checklist and created a sheet of paper that I reviewed both with James and the childcare staff. It looked something like this:
Activity board at home

Activities to Choose:
* Read a book
* Shoot a basketball / play with a ball
* Rest in a chair

Things to Remember:
☐ Listen
☐ Use your words
☐ Play nice / use good hands

I made it clear to James that I would ask the staff if he remembered to do the last 3 things. If he did, he would get to play a video game at home. If he did not remember to follow through, he would not get to play the video game.

Then I stuffed a bunch of workout stuff in a backpack for me and jetted us off to the gym, paper in hand. In the end, it worked out well. Turns out he did not really need the form because he played Trouble & Monopoly with the other kids. He was even able to tell me what he did without prompting, which I don't remember him doing before (yay, victories!!). But I like to think that the effort I spent to focus him on what he could choose to do in childcare and what was expected of him before we left the house was well spent. The childcare director really liked the sheet, and the staff is saving it for our next visit.

It took almost more time to prep James for childcare than it did to work out and have a shower. But hey, now he has a new tool to regulate himself in childcare. And I feel more hopeful that I've found a good way to help James manage his behaviours.

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