Need tips for helping second grade kids who act out at home and school.

"Do you have any tips or comments on second grade kids who have been placed with a parent, and is not happy and acts out, especially at home, and sometimes at school?"

Asked by Barbara after reading the article, "Parents as Partners: Easy Ways to Connect in the Classroom":
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Hand in Hand
Sep 20, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Barbara,

I'm not sure what you mean by kids "who have been placed with a parent" so please forgive me if my answer ends up being off base. I do have some suggestions for helping children who act out that might be useful.

Off-track behavior from children is a sign that they have lost their sense of connection to adults who care about them. Children are not able to function well without the sense that at least one caring adult has their best interests in mind. This sense of connection in children can be very fragile and easily break, but it is also something that you can repair readily with a little time and attention.

The first thing I would suggest is that you make time every day to simply "connect" with the child. We call this Special Time. It doesn't need to be a lot of time, even five minutes can be a big help if done well. The trick is that you have to find five minutes when you can let go of all the demands of work and parenting and everything else you may have on your mind! :-) Here's how it works:

* You tell the child that you are going to set aside some Special Time for them and tell the child when that will be.

* You allow the child to anticipate that time together.

* When the time comes, you set a timer so there is an external marker for when Special Time starts and stops.

* When Special Time starts you let go of everything else and just focus your warmth and full attention on appreciating the child in front of you.

* During Special Time you do whatever it is that your child wants to do with enthusiasm, affection and full attention to them. No answering the phone, no picking up as you go, no agenda of your own at all. You follow your child's lead and add in as much warmth and laughter as you can as you go along. Be silly. See what lets them laugh. But no tickling!

* When the timer goes off, tell your child how much you enjoyed spending that time with them and when you can do it again.

You can read more about how this process works and how it can be helpful to children with their school work or at home on our blog or website.

I hope you find something here helpful,

Julianne Idleman
Hand in Hand Program Director
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