The Easter holidays often bring visitors and guests into the home environment which can cause children to react in odd ways. Parents often find ourselves dealing with regressive or extreme behavior and may be unsure of how to calm their children down. By thinking of your child’s dominant sense you will be able to pre-empt bad behavior so that everyone can have a more peaceful experience this Easter.
One of the biggest complaints about tactile children is their physical expression of their emotions. This expression often manifests in odd ways such as pushing, biting or hitting newly arrived guests who have come to celebrate Easter. One way to pre-empt this behavior is to give the child a series of jobs to do. For example they could hold a basket of Easter eggs or flowers to hand to the newly arrived guests, take their coats to the bedroom, or show the newly arrived guests where the bathroom is. The point is to give them a job which is a positive outlet for their energy so as to pre-empt what might otherwise be negative physical expressions of their emotions. After the guests’ initial arrival keep the child busy with activities such as making eggs out of Play-Doh, setting up an Easter egg hunt or collecting everyone’s napkins after dinner. These activities will help to keep your child occupied as well as expend some of their excess energy.
Visual children can become a little bossy with guests, especially when it comes to their home environment. They are very aware of how the decorations have been set up and will get quite cross if things are changed. I have heard of several visual children who have put everyone’s eggs back after the Easter egg hunt since they believed that the other children were messing up their parents’ decorations. Keep on hand quiet activities such as drawing Easter cards, painting eggs or making a table centerpiece so that when the children become overwhelmed with visual changes to their surroundings they can refocus their need to control into a much more personal activity. If at all possible be respectful of their bedrooms since any visual change to their own everyday belongings can result in the child becoming upset or having tantrums.
Auditory children, when at their best, are balanced and fair so they expect the Easter hunt eggs to be divided evenly and that everyone will have a comfortable space at the table. They will be chatty and engaging until the noise becomes too much and they experience auditory overload. When this happens you will find them underfoot, whiny and full of complaints. At this point it’s best to make sure they have a quiet place to escape. They probably will want you to spend some quiet time alone with them, and it’s best to oblige them for at least a few minutes in order to help them settle down more easily. If your house holds a lot of children it’s a good idea to have as many outdoor activities as possible as this will help to disperse the sound; don’t forget the joys of headphones as a portable escape for your auditory child.
Taste and smell children love family dinners and family fun, but being sensitive means that transitions can easily overwhelm them and lead to tears. Try to stagger the arrival of guests and keep chocolate and sweets to a measured dose, preferably after a healthy meal. Make sure their special toys and items are out of reach from other children since a missing doll or a broken toy can mean hours of the child being upset and a day of grudges, resulting in a tense emotional environment. Set up a make-believe kitchen so they can emulate you, and if they are able to pretend cook with real food all the better. In fact this type of play is often the only way an emotional taste and smell child will eat when overwhelmed by lots of guests.
Guests often can lead to a dramatic change in routine, excess sugar and late nights. Trying to keep these changes to a minimum will help your little one from being overwhelmed and allow them to behave like the angels you know they are. Happy Easter.
Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at childsense.com.
© 2013, Priscilla Dunstan
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