A little video we created for young children
1. Embrace textures. Your child will probably be very texture-orientated for life. Take them to a fabric store, ask them to feel lots of different fabrics and tell you which they like or don’t like. This will save you buying them clothes they refuse to wear, and will also help you to identify the fabrics which give them the most pleasure to hold. Get creative, make some fun cuffs and fiddle toys and teach them to reach to those to comfort and soothe themselves.
2. Use reverse psychology. If you tell them not to pull and they do, then tell them not to play with “your” fiddle toys … claim them for yourself and explain you use them to calm yourself down. After a while, either let your child earn their own fiddle toys or leave “yours” unattended and see what happens.
4. Manage any sleep problems. Use a sleep app to find out what is really happening with regard to your child’s sleep. Embrace herbal remedies. Most people with trichotillomania have problems getting to sleep due to over-thinking. Fragrance and sleep music in the child’s bedroom can help, and make sure there is something of their favourite texture in the bed too. Be prepared to stay in or near the room with them as they fall asleep but please don’t have a conversation at sleep time except to return them to their bed. Use a weighted blanket or a weighted “snake” over the shoulders to keep the child’s arms down, especially at night. The weights add to the feeling of security and can assist in falling and staying asleep.
5. Unnotice it. If you notice your child pulling, instead of making it into a battle, distract them. Redirect them to other activities, such as colouring or playing a game with you that keeps their hands busy. This will also give you a chance to talk to your child about what they may be thinking and/or feeling. Try talking about their day while doing these activities.
6. Open up communication. Don’t ask probing questions that will make the child think there is something is wrong with them. You will probably notice your child is already self-conscious, and they may be showing signs of anxiety. Talk about your day with your child while doing something together. Acknowledge feelings, use phrases like “it’s ok to be scared” and reinforce what they have said, even if it sounds over-anxious (e.g., “you’re worried what other people think?”). Do plenty of listening, smiling and nodding.
9. Art therapy: Ask your child to draw the tric monster, paint it and maybe write a little about it too. This helps to see it as something outside of you, which can be defeated. We would love to see your pictures! Click contact us and we’ll tell you where to send them. You even might see them on the website!
10. Increase activity. Throw a foam ball around the room, go for a run, play a bat and ball game in the garden. Know your child though, and if they are particularly indoors orientated, encouraging them outside may just result in another battle.
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