Behaviour Management Tips and Tools for Children — Part 3
Updated: Apr 4
In this article, I will be sharing more on situations in which the child behaves and suggestions on behaviour management tools to manage the behaviours.
Attention and the child’s behaviour.
Parents’ attention is a big reward for the child.
If the child behaves in a particular way and gets the parent’s attention, he is likely to behave that way again.
Tuning into the child shows him that he is important and that what he cares about is important. This builds his confidence, strengthens the parent's relationship with him and makes him open to exploring new ideas and interests.
When the parent gives attention to good behaviour, it shows the child that behaving in a way that the parent likes will get positive interest. This means the parent can use positive attention to encourage the behaviour which the parent wants.
Positive attention includes:
For example, Son uses good manners at mealtimes.
Encouragement. For example, “Keep trying, Son”.
For example, cuddles, hugs or a high five.
For example, listening with interest when the child says something in a normal voice instead of shouting.
1. Follow the child’s lead.
Let the child choose the game or activity whenever possible and be safe.
The child learns that the parent will be there if he needs the parent when he explores the world.
2. Take time.
Spend time with the child often instead of occasionally.
Do not rush the child on to the next activity.
3. Get close and watch the child.
Move to the child’s side and look at him rather than turning from across the room.
Give attention to good behaviour when the parent is with the child.
4. Comment on what the child is doing.
Talk about what the child is doing.
Do not ask questions. Answer the questions which the child might have.
5. Avoid the attention trap.
Do not pay more attention to the child’s difficult behaviour.
Do not give the child negative attention such as shouting or scolding.
Click here to read about "Toddler Development" and "How can Parents help".
Routines help the child cooperate. Family routines make it clear who should do what, when, in what order and how often. For example,
brush teeth before sleep, tidy up after play, or switch the TV off.
The routine includes enough play, meals and sleep. This helps the child to know how to behave and behave better.
A routine can also help the parent to plan ahead for times and activities when the child often misbehave like during shopping, trip or visit.
1. Add some downtime into the child’s routine.
This gives the child time for sleep, rests or learns to entertain himself.
2. Make limits part of the routine like screen time.
For example, when the parent is cooking a meal, let the child have screen time and stop before mealtime.
3. Get the child to follow routines.
Put up a poster of the routine which includes play, sleep and meal on the child’s room’s wall. Make the poster with the child.
4. Find ways to remind the child to follow the routine without the parent’s help.
For example, when the parent says bedtime, the child goes to bed.
5. Think about some tasks which the child can learn new skills and do.
For example, stir eggs, fold clothes.
6. Praise the child when he follows the routine without help.
A consequence is something that happens after the child behaves in a particular way. May have to use negative consequences to enforce limits and reinforce rules when simple reminders haven’t worked.
Behaviour and Consequences
The child behaves in a particular way and gets a negative consequence. This decreases the likelihood of the behaviour happening in the same circumstances in the future. For example, your child throws a toy, and you put the toy away for the rest of the day.
When the child experiences the results of his behaviour, he can learn that his actions have consequences. He might learn to take responsibility for what he does. If the child refuses to put on clothes, he feels cold.
If the child does not eat, he feels hungry.
If the child does not eat fruits and vegetables, he finds it hard to poo.
Do not say “I told you so” to upset the child.
The consequence is related to the behaviour the parent wants to discourage.
If the child is being silly and spills his drink, he must wipe it up.
If children are fighting over a toy, the toy is put away from them.
Loss of Privilege and Time Out
Give the child the opportunity to stop, think about his behaviour and learn from its consequences. Loss of privilege is taking away a favourite object or activity for a while because of unacceptable behaviour.
Time Out is when the parent asks the child to go to a place that is away from activities and people for a short period of time.
Use consequence as a response to the child’s behaviour, not to the child himself.
This lets the child know that he is loved by the parent.
It may take some time before the child learns to behave differently.
1. Make consequences clear and consistent.
If the child clearly understands what the parent expects him to do, he is less likely to do things that require negative consequences.
If the parent talks to the child about possible consequences, he is less likely to be resentful and angry when the parent puts consequences into action. If the parent uses consequences in the same way and for the same behaviour every time, the child knows what to expect. If the parent has other children, it is important to apply negative consequences to them. This helps the child to feel fair.
2. Warn the child before giving consequences.
This gives the child a chance to change his behaviour. For example, If the children can’t take turns to have screen time, I will take it away.
If you are looking to help the child “learn to share”, do check out our article on How to make friends and learn to share?.
I hope all these suggestions on behaviour management tools will help you to manage your child’s behaviours and your child will behave better.
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