Parent Consult Sessions....Why?
I didn't used to offer Parent Consult Sessions. I love being in-person working with kids. Using play activities to help children reach their goals. Building on concrete skills to manage difficult behaviors in real-time. Modeling tasks with children, while parents observe. That's my jam......
But....I would always talk with parents about two things.
The PARENT is my actual BOSS. I only want to work on skills and tasks that are meaningful in your house. Activities that your child is actually engaged in. And if I am working on a task that is not meaningful for you and your family, it's very unlikely that there will be any success achieving the task. And it doesn't matter how many times I practice a task with a child1:1 for 1 hour, each week. If the task isn't important to your child and family, I have serious doubts that it will be achieved.
The PARENT has to carry out the therapy work for the rest of the week when I am not around. That means that my real job is to teach the PARENT to be the THERAPIST. It can be hard to do that in a one hour session when I am also trying to connect with the child.
So then....COVID hit. It wasn't so comfortable for me to bring a lovely, full, fun bag of my toys into a family's home and potentially spread a virus to me, my family, or any of the clients (and their families) I am in contact with.
So what to do?!?!?!
One possible solution is for me to meet with the parent(s) to consult with them about their child's behaviors and overall family dynamics, habits and routines (either in-person, masked or using a HIPAA approved Telehealth platform). This is a great option for parents who are concerned about their children's behaviors, but when their child may work with me-they may act like a "perfect angel." Or when a parent wants to work on something that is super task-specific (toilet training, sleep training, etc.) but the child doesn't have to use the bathroom or it's not time to go to sleep when I am scheduled to be working with him/her.
We can talk about specific details and events throughout a family's week that may be working well (we always focus on the positive) and maybe moments that aren't going well (difficult transitions, loud tantrums, picky eaters ruining mealtime, toileting accidents). We problem solve, work to establish meaningful parent:child connections, and build effective routines that work for each individual and family system.
COVID has presented a lot of challenges for all of us....Parent Consulting Sessions can be one solution!