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A child with challenging behaviors cannot absorb any lessons you are trying to teach in-the-moment.  Her brain can be likened to that of a fire, raging out of control.  In order to make repairs we must first put the fire out.  Rather than giving you a strategy to apply after the explosion has occurred, I’m going to provide you with a proactive technique to prevent the brain from reaching that burning-hot chemical state called fight-or-flight.

Build in “animal walks” throughout your day.  These provide deep input into the muscles and joints so that the brain and body get a heavy does of what I call “happy chemicals.”  In the morning invite your child to slither like a snake to the closet to pick out her clothes.  She may hop like a bunny to the breakfast table and crawl on all fours like a bear afterward to get ready to leave the house.  Invent new animal walks like a lame dog with an “injured” leg or an ostrich by grabbing your ankles and stepping around the room.

I always enjoy seeing what kinds of new animal walks children come up with.  The natural silliness of it all invites laughter, which releases dopamine so the brain naturally is flooded with happy chemicals that bond you to one another.

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