“Honey, it is time for bed!” Mandy followed mom to the bedroom. Suddenly, Mandy started crying.
“What’s wrong honey? Why are you crying?” asked mom.
“It’s okay baby. I know you’re sad. Let me give you a hug” said mom.
After a short while, Mandy calmed down and stopped crying.
“You did great calming down honey! Do you want to talk about it?” asked mom.
Mandy nodded and said, “my bear is missing…help me find it! help me find it!”
“Oh, your bear is missing! Okay, let's think together. This morning when you woke up, you brought the bear over to mummy’s room, is that right?
“And then what happened after? We sat on the bed and read a book for the bear. We then went down to wash up and had breakfast.”
“Did we bring the bear downstairs? I don’t remember seeing it in the living room, the kitchen, or the dining room. And it’s not in your room. Hmmm…I wonder where the bear is…”
Just then, Mandy stood up and walked to mummy’s room.
“I found it, mummy! I found my bear! It’s on mummy’s bed!”
When a child loses a toy, it is easy to just find it for them. But, every time they lose a toy, they will start crying and yelling for you to find it for them. It’s like a never-ending process. So instead of finding it for them, why don’t we guide them to dynamically think and let them find it themselves?
From the scenario above, we can see how mom remained calm throughout the process and slowly guide Mandy to use her dynamic thinking and episodic memory to trace where the bear was.
When a child cries and throws tantrums, it is important for parents to stay calm and regulated. When we are regulated, we can help our child understand their emotions and in turn, help them regulate themselves too. Once a child has calmed down, we can start talking and reasoning with them about their negative emotions.
Oftentimes, a young child’s brain is not independent and capable enough to dynamically solve a problem. This is where parents’ guidance comes in. We can be role models by showing them how to think and come out with effective solutions. Just like Mandy’s mom, she walked through the day with Mandy so Mandy was able to visualise and think where she has left the bear. We are also teaching a child that crying or losing a temper is not going to help solve problems, but thinking dynamically will.