Trying to get out of the door in the morning…

Dr. Marjory Phillips, CMHRT, Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo

Parenting is a job like no other.  Raising children can bring us joy and meaning.  Yet it also brings feelings of frustration, being overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do next.  The challenges of parenting can be magnified if you have a child who has big emotions or difficulties settling. 

Meltdowns are particularly hard to manage when you are trying to get out the door in the morning or when you are in a public place, such as a grocery store.  Some children have a lot of trouble following directions or adjusting to change.  Sometimes, children don’t know what to do to calm down, or they may not know what is expected of them. 

Triple P Positive Parenting Program provides parents with strategies and skills to manage these kinds of situations with confidence and with positive expectations for change.   Triple P Group uses a combination of video clips, demonstrations, and practice to provide parents with an opportunity to learn and share with other parents who have similar challenges.  Implemented in 36 countries world-wide, the program is based on science and allows parents to choose and try a variety of proven strategies that might work for their particular family. 

Tips for Avoiding Meltdowns in the mornings

  • Build a foundation of positive attention:  Show and tell your child often when they are doing what you want to see more of (playing nicely with a sibling, speaking in an indoor voice.
  • Set up a few basic rules telling your child what to do (e.g., ‘breakfast before tv’).  Be as specific as possible and try to phrase the rule positively.
  • Set up a morning routine.  It may help to include your child in the planning, deciding the order of activities or timing, for example.
  • Set up naturally available consequences for following (or not following the rules).  Praise and positive attention is important, as is a consequence for not following the rules.  Keep consequences short, immediate, and relevant to the problem (e.g., loss of screen time that morning before school or daycare).
  • Prepare in advance:  This could include engaging your child in helping to select clothes or pack a backpack or lunch the night before, etc.

In the midst of a meltdown, try to stay calm yourself and help your child by validating their feelings. Subsequent strategies such as quiet time may be needed to help a child to calm down.


By staying calm and present in the midst of your child’s meltdown, you can help them to calm and settle as well.
Positive Parenting Can Help.                 

Triple P Positive Parenting Group is offered through the Centre for Mental Health Research and Treatment (CMHRT) at the University of Waterloo.  The next 8 week session will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 pm beginning March 6 until May 1, 2019.  There is a fee for services with subsidies available.

Please contact cmhrtintake@uwaterloo.ca  or (519) 888-4567 ext. 33842 if you would like to participate in the program and to discuss whether it is suitable for your family. Space is limited. For more information, please see https://uwaterloo.ca/cmhrt/

 Dr. Marjory Phillips, is the mom of two (now-adult) children, a clinical psychologist and the Director of the CMHRT in the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo.  The CMHRT is a training centre for clinical psychology graduate students, providing evidence-based clinical services to the Waterloo Region community.

Check out more on Managing Meltdowns here.



Comments

4 Responses to “Trying to get out of the door in the morning…”

  1. Maryanne says:

    I think this is a brilliant program.

  2. Omkalthoum says:

    ‘Build a foundation of positive attention’. I love this tips; it shares my personal point of view on parenting.

  3. Vctoria says:

    I have heard a lot of great things about the triple program. The article applies it to a very common parenting struggle in a very useful way.

  4. Teresa says:

    What a great little article, give some really great tips and strategies.

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