What can I do?
Don't pinch them back.
- Pinching them back only reinforces the behaviour you’re trying to stop. You might be trying to show them it hurts and they shouldn’t do it to others, but young kids won’t always make the connection.
- If you pinch them back they’ll just wonder why you’re hurting them – and you’re sending the message that it’s okay to pinch people when you’re feeling angry.
- Instead just say ‘Ouch - that hurts, please don’t pinch!’ or ‘Do you need some help?’
- Ignore any well-meaning advice from friends or relatives to pinch back.
Focus on the person who has been hurt, not the pincher.
Avoid giving them any of your attention immediately. Instead show concern for the person who has been hurt. Say something like “It’s not fun when someone hurts you is it?” You are showing them how their behavior affects others and makes them feel sad.
Make the pincher play on their own for a while.
- Calmly removing the pincher and making them play on their own provides a logical consequence for their behaviour.
- If this happens every time they pinch, they’ll start to learn that it’s more fun if they don’t pinch, as they can keep playing.
- A change of scene can also help things calm down faster, for them and the person whose been pinched.
Watch put for frustration and distract them if you can.
- Look out for situations in which they’re likely to pinch and stay alert to what’s happening so you can head things off before they happen.
- Step in when you can see tempers rising and suggest a change in the toy, game, or the environment!
- Playdough is a great activity for times of frustration. You can pinch, punch and bang it without hurting anyone else.
- Getting them to do some physical activity is also a good way of releasing stress. -
Encourage the behaviour you want to see.
- Encourage them to use their words rather than their hands to show how they’re feeling
- Remind them to use “gentle hands”
- Give them specific praise when they do well eg Kapai! I liked how you asked for that toy instead of grabbing it – well done!
Have a 'gentle hands' rule.
- If the same rule applies to everyone in the family, your child will be more likely to stick to it .
- Draw a picture together about our ‘gentle hands’ home and stick it on the fridge as a reminder.
- Talk to older brothers and sisters about how the younger one’s ‘just learning’ just like they did when they were little,
- Share a funny story of them when they were that age and going through similar challenges.
Try a calm corner.
- A calm corner can be a warm and inviting space, maybe with some pillows, books and toys.
- Time in the calm corner is not about punishing but trying to offer a new ‘space’ to help everyone feel better.
- Everyone could join in the calm corner it’s a space for thinking and feeling good - not isolation..
Try time out.
- If pinching continues in the calm corner a ‘Time Out’ space might be needed
- Time out’ can work sometimes – for specific unwanted behaviours.
- If you do decide to use Time out, be consistent and focus only on one behaviour at a time to avoid confusing your child.
- Talk with your kids about the type of behaviours that will need Time Out. You could make a poster for the fridge together as a reminder.
Try time out alternatives.
- ‘Time in’ - where you remove them from the situation but stay with them until they calm down – might be a gentler option than time out.
- When kids feel better they usually behave better
- Sometimes if a toy is causing arguments, you could try putting the toy in ‘time out’ – instead.
Try sticker charts.
- Sticker charts can work for specific behaviour you’re trying to tackle.
- With young kids’ short attention spans it’s best to give out a stickers regularly then gradually stretch it out as the behaviour improves.
- Make sure you give them lots of praise for using gentle hands.
- You could make the reward at the end special time with you, rather than sweets or telly.
Give excess energy another outlet.
- Check they’re getting enough physical activity in their day - this can really help with releasing excess energy and built up frustration.
- Even short breaks of running, jumping, dancing around can make a huge difference.
And what about you?
Over it? Use your phone timer to set a time limit for a play activity – your full attention for five minutes is better than half pai for longer.
Had enough? You may feel like you need alcohol or drugs to relax – but they often make the situation worse, especially when you have to deal with kids. Who could help you cut down or cut it out?