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HALT - A Helpful Tool To Think Deeper About Child Behaviour.

Is your child...

✋🏽🛑 ...HALT - Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?

A few weeks ago, I had a not so great parenting day. I can’t recall all the details now, but I felt very short with the kids. It seemed many things they were doing were a thing for me, and I found it hard to not react to many interactions in the day…I was reactive.

Towards the end of the day, I still didn’t feel like myself and didn’t really feel like I had the capacity to self-reflect.

And then, I made myself some food after coming home towards the end of the day, as I noticed I felt hungry, and ate…the kids were playing and getting ready for bed.

A little while later, I felt more energetic and felt *so* different. The fog (and weirdness!) of the day was starting to lift.

“Oh my goodness, I feel like a new woman, guys” I announced. I felt very different, and relatively, much better.

Bedtime came about and I hadn’t yet reflected on the day or how I had showed up, but I knew that I didn’t want to let the kids go to sleep on the back of my impatience and just…botheredness.

So, as I cuddled with each sweet boy in their beds, I apologised and said I would speak to them more tomorrow.

And then…I realised, it was all because of my being…

▪️hungry (and not releasing it)

▪️and very tired (from a late night)

It was beginning to click…

So not sufficiently energised, really. It clicked for me as I was apologising that evening.

For some reason, I said out loud to the boys that in parenting, I remember coming across the HALT acronym…and it was to help you help your child…and today, I actually needed it as I didn't identify that I was the H and the T (Hungry and Tired).

How can HALT help you in parenting?

🛑 I think I first came across using the HALT acronym as a a parenting tool through the book: No Drama Discipline by Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson.

The idea is that if your child is struggling in their behaviour, and you’re wondering what it might be, it could be worth running though HALT acronym, and what it stands for…

Could you child be…?

🥘 …Hungry?

In which case the presenting ‘behaviour issue’ may be a nonissue or be lessened dramatically after your child has some food.

😤😭 Are they Angry?

Do they have some big feelings that they haven’t cried out or that could do with acknowledgement and empathy? Some love, and emptying their ‘emotional backpack’ (in some way)?

🤗 Are they Lonely?

I.e. do they need connection with you? Are they acting out for attention? Has it been a while since you’ve had a cuddle? Maybe a 10minute snuggle and a book?

A good quote that sums up this point well is:

“Either we spend time meeting children’s emotional needs by filling their cup with love or we spend time dealing with the behaviours caused from their unmet needs. Either way, we spend the time.” - Pam Leo

(So good, right? And on point 🎯)

🥱 And finally, are they Tired?

They may be having meltdowns or just having a hard time over and over…are they tired? Do they need to rest, take a nap, or perhaps get to bed earlier that day?

So, to sum up, when you see your child struggling with their behaviour (‘misbehaving’)…

✋🏽...HALT and ask yourself: are they Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?

So that we have the opportunity to give more attuned care ❤️ InshaAllah.

And as always, remember as you parent, that it’s not practice makes perfect, it’s practice makes progress ❤️
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