Distraction and Redirection
Distraction is generally recommended for minor issues that aren’t really worth battling over, or if you’re too tired to get creative. It can also be used against fussiness and tantrums before they really blow up. Examples are activity books or take-along toys for car rides; or a flashlight during a diaper change (hubby used to use his mobile phone with this one).
For car rides, I used to have a whole bag of stuff I would leave in the car for Gavin to play with. Getting around in the car with Gavin used to be very stressful so I often had to get creative with distractions for him in the car. When he got older and started responding to Thomas and Friends audio books, I would play BBC recordings of the Railway Stories. These days, the car rides are generally pretty easy going. Just talking to Gavin is enough of a distraction to get from point A to point B.
Redirection involves shifting your child’s attention to a different thing. For instance, if your child is getting frustrated trying to work out a puzzle and it is beginning to escalate towards a tantrum, shift his focus to something else. Other examples – take a bored and whiny child out for a walk; or separate siblings who are irritating each other by sending one on an errand.
I’m not very good with redirection but hubby does it quite well with Gavin. I guess that’s the benefit of a Mum and Dad tag team – one makes up for what the other lacks.
Pantley recommends using distraction and redirection particularly when you have more than one child. Looks like I should keep this one under my belt for the days to come when Gareth is a little older…