H.A.L.T. method in proactive parenting.
I read it several times. Then I came back and read it again as I observed my own behavior and my own children’s behavior over the next few days. I realized quickly that I use this technique in my own parenting and in my photography sessions.
It’s a valuable tool for parents and child photographers to use. It’s about recognizing the signs our child is giving us when their behavior is about to turn….and we all know that when they turn, we better act!
The H is for Hungry.
As parents we know that moment, when our child’s belly begins to rumble, turning them into a creature that is no longer a child,but a bear that roars and makes us shake in our boots.
In our family, it’s the reason I always pack snacks, drinks and healthy treats for every road trip, baseball game and outing.
As a photographer, it’s one of the first things I recommend to parents before a session. I encourage parent to bring snacks. We build snack breaks into our session and I ask them to make sure my new little friends have happy bellies before our session.
Happy tummies make for Happy kids (and Happy parents)!
The A is for Angry.
Children are humans. They get mad, they react quickly and they have feelings. As parents we are all in tune to what our child’s triggers are, we know what will set them off and how to help our children decompress when they hit their boiling point.
In our family, I have found that my children need one of two things when they get angry: deep pressure in the form of a hug, a squeeze, a hand massage, a deep snuggle or pure and utter alone time (usually lying down with a favorite blanket in a quiet space works magic).
As a photographer, I spend time finding out from parents what topics to avoid and if I see the pot start to boil I find that a change of scenery or a doing something really goofy can quickly change the atmosphere and put out the fire.
I mean really, who can be mad after seeing me fall down on the ground and pretend to cry?
It’s pretty pathetic.
The L is for Lonely.
Children are children for a reason. They need love, to be nurtured, touch, to be validated and to they need to feel needed.
No child likes to be lonely.
In our family, I have found that by simply stating the obvious to our children works. “You are showing me that you need a hug (or a snuggle), so come on over and get some loving!” Our children respond positively to our verbalization of the need for affection and now will often ask for snuggle time when they are feeling vulnerable and lonely.
As a photographer, I recognize when a child is feeling lonely or vulnerable by watching their body language and quickly ask Mom or Dad to jump into the frame for some snuggles, hugs, kisses and maybe even some tickles.
(These are usually my favorite images too!)
The T is for Tired.
Exhaustion is the root of most problems in all families. Everyone gets tired. Children get especially tired because of all that energy that they expend and all that growing they do all day long. Parents just get tired watching them.
In our family, we believe sleep begets sleep. Consistant bedtime routines and full nights of sleeps are a huge component of what makes us tick. We carefully assess our children’s busy lives and always make sleep and rest a priority.
Tired children are just plain difficult to parent.
As a photographer, I know that a tired child is a tired child and it’s time to quit. Even if we need to reschedule I will never make a child sit through a session if he or she is tired or sick. Children need to be respected and if I recognize that they are too exhausted to play with me, I’ll ask them to play another day. After all,we all need energy to play with Miss Jane!
How about you?
Do you already use this method and didn’t know it?
Do you think that using HALT is an effective parenting tool?
What works in your family?
Talk to me! Help me learn!