Try ignoring it.

You may find spitting pretty gross – but it’s usually a bid for attention. You could try ignoring it – kids often get sick of spitting if they’re not getting a reaction. The bigger deal you make of the behaviour the more kids learn it to repeat it.

Try to understand why they are spitting.

Think about what they might be associating spitting with. Does anyone around them spit? Is it just a copied behaviour? Ask them why they are spitting – it might be to get rid of a nasty taste, or excess mucus. Ask have you got a sore throat? Do you need a tissue?

Try leaving the room.

If you can’t bear to ignore the spitting, try telling them you don’t like it and leave the room. Most kids don’t like to be on their own for too long, so if you do this every time they spit, they might get the message.

Send them to a place where it is ok to spit.

If they’re spitting at you, tell them that you don’t like it and if they need to spit they have to go outside, or to the toilet/bathroom. Teeth cleaning is a great time to encourage ‘OK’ spitting by saying “here, this is the place to spit’.

Give them lots of positive attention when they’re not spitting.

‘If you ‘feed’ the behaviour you do want  with praise and encouragement and starve that which you don’t want by ignoring, the spitting should eventually disappear. Be specific with your praise – “Wow you worked hard on that picture’ or ‘thank you for helping me clean your teeth”.

Be patient and wait it out.

Spitting can be an unpleasant phase, but it usually doesn’t last for long, especially if you try not to make too big a deal of it.

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.

Need back-up? Family members might be willing to help but not sure what to do. . Be specific – “could you please bath/feed change/dress baby”

Feeling like a bad parent? Look around and check is there anything that could be dangerous to the kids? If not, relax – you’re doing OK!

Feel like you’re always on the go? Your kids are the most important thing - and they’re only young once. Think about what absolutely must be done now and what can wait.

Worried what others think of your parenting? What your kids think of you is what really matters! If you focus on them, you’re already doing a great job.

Feeling down? Talking with someone you trust can be the first step to finding help. Working out whether your feelings are temporary or more lasting is important. Depressed? Writing down your feelings in a daily diary will help you monitor whether it’s getting better or worse. This will also help you explain better if you go to your doctor.

Sick of yelling? Try singing your frustration instead. If you hop or jump at the same time, everyone gets the giggles — another great tension buster!

Feeling yuk? If no-one else can help with the kids, grab a pillow and blanket - set up camp in your lounge until you start to feel better

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?

Stress over unpaid bills? Have a banking setup that automatically takes money out for your main bills first. Then you know what you have left to survive on.

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Putting it all together

SKIP’s approach is based on six things which children need from parents to help them grow into happy, capable adults.

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  • Love & warmth

  • Talking & listening

  • Guidance & understanding

  • A structured & secure world

  • Consistency & consequences

  • Limits & boundaries