5 ways to handle rigid children
Rigidity is normal in children but it needs to controlled. We will discuss 5 ways to handle rigid children. Your preschooler may look like a big kid to you, but she still doesn’t know how to share. Sharing is a skill that evolves through practice and maturity. Two-year-olds still tend to be possessive about their playthings. For now, it’s best to put their favorites away when someone comes to play. Or steer the kids toward activities they can do together, like building with blocks, kicking a ball around, digging in the sandbox, or creating with clay.
Tussles over a toy happen often when two preschoolers are at play. They can be fiercely protective of their possessions, and sharing is a skill that won’t come naturally to your child for another year or two. In the meantime, help him learn:
Model sharing and use the word “share”: “Would you like to share my cookie?”Break up fights by removing the object of debate and moving the kids onto something else: “The car needs to take a rest now. Want to blow some bubbles?”Casually point out big kids you see sharing. Hide favorite toys when other kids come to play. Twos shouldn’t be expected to let others use things they’re strongly attached to. Provide activities for play-dates that involve a shared activity that each child can do on her own, like playing with clay or drawing pictures. Praise your child when sharing does happen. Positive reinforcement is a terrific teacher.
A GOOD RESOURCE THAT CAN HELP
Bend the rules.
Rigid thinkers love rules, and they love to remind other kids about the rules. While rules can certainly come in handy at times, fixating on specific rules can make it hard for kids to get along with others.
Try changing the rules to your favorite board games. Your child might fight this at first, but by making small changes, he will learn that he can bend. My son and I make small changes to the rules to make games more fun, and this has improved his ability to solve problems. When kids learn that rules aren’t always set in stone, they begin to approach problems from new directions.
Self-talk is a great way to work through a problem. Teach your child to take a few deep breaths, state the problem, consider at least three solutions and choose one. When kids learn to talk their way through problems, they experience less frustration and are better able to cope with unexpected change.
Tweak the routine.
Routines are great because they help kids know what comes next. Young children often thrive when they have specific daily routines in the home, but sometimes the dependence on routine increases rigid thinking. In other words, they struggle to cope with change.
Instead of doing everything exactly the same way each day, make small tweaks to the routine here and there. Even small changes, like taking a bath before dinner some nights, show kids that it’s okay to do things in a different way.
Check in with Amelia Bedelia
Everyone’s favorite literal thinker can actually be a huge help when it comes to flexible thinking. Read some of Amelia Bedelia’s funny adventures together and talk about what she was supposed to do and why she might have made some mistakes.
Get a joke book.
Rigid thinkers tend to struggle to understand jokes. They also have trouble making up their own jokes and puns. Joke books can be a great way to talk about the different meanings of words and think about how changing the meaning of a word makes it funny.