This might not look like much, but it is somewhat of a breakthrough for us.
The kid sitting at that table alone is 3. And wow, is he a busy guy! He is loud, fast, silly, and curious. He climbs, jumps, runs, and plays hard and intense. Out of all my kids, this one alone keeps me on my toes more than the others put together. And I love that personality!
But lately, his intensity has turned to aggression toward other kids in my care. He hits. He kicks. He whacks kids with toys. He has even bitten, twice. And even when he shows restraint, he screeches and gets in the kids’ faces with grimaces, growls, and jaw gnashing.
It seems silly that it took me so long to realize this, but as I was trying to word a different post, the term “introvert” popped into my mind.
It was a total facepalm moment. He’s not shy by any means, but Rogue is an introvert. He is a social guy who likes people…when he wants to be around them. And when he doesn’t, he DOES NOT. And he lives in a house with six (soon to be seven) people, plus four to six other kids who attend my daycare, and the three after school kids who come in the afternoon.
And nowhere to be alone.
So today, as I prepared lunch for the preschoolers, I got the small table from the porch and asked if he’d like to have his own table. His face lit up as he nodded yes, and I asked him to show me where to put it. He walked close to the table at which he usually sits, and then took four big steps away.
“Here,” he declared. “I like here.”
He happily munched away, interacting with the other kids a few times by laughing at their antics, but mostly he hummed to himself, watched the mocking bird who was eyeing his lunch, and danced to a song in his own head. After a while, he took his applesauce cup and stood near the table where the other kids sat, joining their conversation.
It’s been two and a half hours since, and he hasn’t had one aggressive incident. He has played with the other kids some, played alone a lot, and come back to sit at his “alone time” chair a few times.
Every single thing a person does communicates something to us. Let’s take the time to listen. Breathe through the frustration and ask yourself “what is this person’s behavior telling me? What need do they have going unfulfilled? How can I help ease that burden?”
And ask the same questions about yourself. When you start to lash out, get angry, yell, spank, or feel overwhelmed; how can you address your own needs so that you are prepared to handle others’?