Your children are spinning out of control. He’s crying and yelling. She’s whining and dragging her feet. The noise level is rising to painful.
It’s time to H.A.L.T. This is an acronym used in recovery programs, but it fits parenting very well. Things are harder when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
HALT and take a quick inventory. Is your child Hungry? Do you know why he’s Angry? Is Loneliness the problem? Is she Tired?
You cannot control every situation or always avoid your little one’s discomfort. But this little acronym, HALT, can give you a quick way to spot the problem and diffuse the emotions.
Hunger is probably the easiest one to fix. Start here and make sure everyone’s blood sugar level is up to normal. If not, a snack or meal is the next order of business.
Anger is usually quite easy to recognize. But it may take a little detective work to figure out what is the root of the anger and how to solve it. Giving a positive way to use up some of that steam can be a safety valve to prevent serious damage.
Children may not be able to tell you they are Lonely. They can be lonely even in a crowd, feeling left out or disconnected from you. Give some one-on-one time to ease this.
Tired children and tired adults get cranky. There is a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a torture strategy. As a basic biological need, human functioning quickly declines in the absence of sufficient sleep. Is it nap time? Has it been an exceptionally busy day or hot day? Some extra sleep can make all the difference.
Megan, in TheArtOfSimple.net said, “The best part of applying HALT to our parenting toolbox is knowing what is triggering undesirable behaviors in our children. Armed with that understanding, we are empowered to respond to them from a place of empathy and understanding, rather than from a place of confusion and frustration.”