The Perfume And The Empty Spray Bottle: Redirecting And Play Schemas :-)


I found my little boy perched up on a stool in the bathroom, reaching for my perfume… He has shown interest in wanting to spray these days. I’ve seen him fiddling with my perfumes a few times now, and I let him explore but its the spraying action he’s interested in and he tries to spray… near his eyes. A few times I’ve moved him away from the perfumes, but of course, he isn’t best pleased when his exploration is halted. But his week, I remembered that we have these little plastic empty spray bottles. So when I took away the perfume bottles, I explained to him why and filled up the empty spray bottle and gave him that to play with instead. He was more than happy with that! Spraying galore for him, and no vigilance or solely taking something away for me.

I try to substitute my younger son’s urges to throw, to pour, etc, into a safe or contained space, so that he can fulfill those urges and I can keep it safe for him and all of us (and easier to clean up!) But it can be quite triggering! With my elder son, it used to uber triggering for me when we’d sit down for a meal and he’d try and mix up my pasta with other things. If I understood that he just wanted to mix (I didn’t back then!), I could have facilitated some mixing for him in some other way. He would’ve enjoyed it and I would’ve enjoyed my dinner

I do sometimes still get triggered and say ‘no throwing’ to my younger son (2). But what works better is when I give him a replacement to fulfill that urge in a different way. To redirect his need. He wants to throw? We can’t throw the hard thing he just threw, but why don’t we throw those soft, foamy letters around? Fun! He wants to pour the milk I’ve left out into an empty cup? I’m not down with the milk being poured (no thanks to cleaning the milk!) but why don’t we grab some water, some containers and a towel to put on the floor? Then he can pour to his hearts content.

Redirection in the spray bottle incident also reminded me of Allah azza wa jall. Allah only prohibits that which is harmful/potentially harmful to us to us (subhanAllah ), and we generally have a better halal alternative that fills the drive.

Below is a video about schemas (I.e. urges) that young children engage in in their play. Learning about them helped me to understand my now 4 year old’s play when was a toddler, and help in redirecting it.

©AtHomeWithThePrinces. Dec, 2016


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