How to Keep Your Little One From "Bonking"Jun 29, 2023
People sometimes ask if I use my training as a clinical psychologist (someone who is trained to assess, diagnose, and treat mental disorders) on my children, and thankfully there’s little need for that, but many of the treatment tools I used to use with patients are applicable in parenting normally developing children. And I use them regularly now in my parent coaching practice.
There are a number of different styles of psychotherapy, but the most widely used evidence-based approach is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on identifying and modifying unhelpful patterns in cognitions (your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and behaviors (your actions).
In previous posts, I’ve introduced the topic of problem-solving using the acronym SOLVE (see Solve Your Parenting Problems in 5 Steps), which is one tool in the cognitive behavioral therapist’s toolbox. Some problems are more complex and require you to work through each of the 5 problem-solving steps. But sometimes, you may encounter a parenting problem and have an “Aha!” moment, especially if you get in the habit of thinking like a cognitive behavioral therapist.
If you stuck with me through the nutritional lesson in my Pack Those Snacks With Protein post, here’s a quick tip related to snacks that stems from one of those “Aha!” problem-solving moments. I was recently carpooling with an excellent mom, very knowledgeable and loving. We had our 9-year-olds on an outing during a time when they would normally be having a snack at school, and it was clear they were “bonking” (our family’s term for unexpected dips in behavior due to low blood sugar levels).
No problem; I just reached for a box I keep in the car with different snack options: nuts, applesauce pouches, granola bars, and fig bars. The box lives in my car and is restocked as needed. Everything has a long shelf life and is relatively mess-free, though occasionally, some applesauce goes flying. So if anybody is ever starving while we’re in the car or I forget to pack a snack for our trip to the park, we’re covered.
You can probably imagine me driving in my early parenting years with just one child on a day when he was terribly upset during the car ride home from a park because we ran out of snacks and he was “bonking.” Amidst the hysterical crying, I thought, here’s a parenting problem, and I need to solve it to help my child and keep my sanity while driving. I started running through the problem-solving steps in my head when an “Aha!” moment struck me, and I thought, there’s no reason for me to ever be without a snack for a hungry child; I’ll just keep them in the car.
I’ve been doing this for years, and when this mom commented on what a great idea it was, I thought, “Wow if this super mom doesn’t know this trick, I’d best post it on my Tips page for others who might benefit from the tip.” Maybe you can benefit from the car snack box or have other daily parenting struggles that might benefit from using the SOLVE problem-solving steps or searching for your “Aha!” moment.
Planning ahead for regular, healthy snacks is part of the Consistency category in my 5 C’s parenting framework (see The 5 C’s to Amazing Parenting). To view more posts in this category, use the category search menu on the right of your screen. Keep up the good work on your amazing parenting journey!
P.S. For more food-related tips, check out the useful advice offered in my free download, How to Make Dining Out With Your Children Enjoyable!
And be sure to check out my Treasures - Dining Out page for some great ideas for easy-to-bring-along activities to entertain the kiddos at the restaurant.