How to encourage good behavior in your child
A positive and constructive approach is often the best way to guide your child’s behaviour. This means giving your child attention when he behaves well, rather than just applying consequences when he does something you don’t like. Here are some practical tips for putting this positive approach into action.
10 Tips For good behavior
1. Be a role model
Use your own behaviour to guide your child.For example, if you want your child to say ‘please’, say it yourself. If you don’t want your child to raise her voice, speak quietly and gently yourself.
2. Show your child how you feel
Telling your child honestly how his behavior affects you helps him see his own feelings in yours. And if you start sentences with ‘I’, it gives your child the chance to see things from your perspective. For example, ‘I’m getting upset because there is so much noise that I can’t sleep.
3. Catch your child being ‘good’
When your child is behaving in a way you like, give her some positive feedback. For example, ‘Wow, you’re playing so nicely. I really like the way you’re keeping all the blocks on the table’. This works better than waiting for the blocks to come crashing to the floor before you take notice and say, ‘Hey, stop that’.
4. Listen actively
To listen actively, you can nod as your child talks, and repeat back what you think your child is feeling. For example, ‘It sounds like you feel really sad that your blocks fell down’. When you do this, it can help young children cope with tension and big emotions like frustration, which sometimes lead to unwanted behaviour. It also makes them feel respected and comforted.
5. Keep promises
When you follow through on your promises, good or bad, your child learns to trust and respect you. She learns that you won’t let her down when you’ve promised something nice, and she also learns not to try to change your mind when you’ve explained a consequence. So when you promise to go for a walk after your child picks up her toys, make sure you have your walking shoes handy. When you say you’ll leave the library if your child doesn’t stop running around, be prepared to leave straight away.
6. Choose your battles
Before you get involved in anything your child is doing – especially to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ – ask yourself if it really matters. By keeping instructions, requests and negative feedback to a minimum, you create less opportunity for conflict and bad feelings.Rules are important, but use them only when it’s really important.
7. Keep things simple and positive
If you give clear instructions in simple terms, your child will know what’s expected of him. And positive rules are usually better than negative ones, because they guide your child’s behaviour in a positive way. For example, ‘Please shut the gate’ is better than ‘Don’t leave the gate open’.
8. Give children responsibility – and consequences
As your child gets older, you can give her more responsibility for her own behaviour. You can also give her the chance to experience thenatural consequences of that behaviour. You don’t have to be the bad guy all the time. For example, if it’s your child’s responsibility to pack for a sleepover and she forgets her favourite pillow, she’ll have to manage without it for the night.
9. Say it once and move on
If you tell your child what to do – or what not to do – too often, he might end up just tuning out. If you want to give him one last chance to cooperate, remind him of the consequences for not cooperating. Then start counting to three
10. Prepare for challenging situations
There are times when looking after your child and doing things you need to do will be tricky. If you think about these challenging situations in advance. Give him a five-minute warning before you need him to change activities. Talk to him about why you need his cooperation. Then he’s prepared for what you expect.