How to encourage good behavior in children

How to encourage good behavior in children

By Aurora Lushej / Throughout the years of working with children of different ages, I have often encountered children with inappropriate or undesirable behavior and parents with immediate need for help in order to improve their child's behavior and not only… Never… we must not forget, behavior is learned, and the pattern of behavior for children is first and foremost the parents. Being in this difficult situation for each of us but on the other hand, a good opportunity for parents to improve their child's behavior as they have more time available. A positive and constructive approach is often the best way to guide your child’s behavior. This means paying attention when they behave well, instead of applying the consequences / punishments when the child does something that doesn't seem appropriate to you.

Here are some practical tips to implement this positive approach:

• From the model
Use your behavior as a guide for your child. What you do is far more important than what you say. For example, if your child wants to say, "Please," say so. If you do not want your child to speak loudly, then use a calm and polite speech.

• Tell your child how you feel
Showing your child honestly how you feel about his behavior helps him to see his feelings in you. Specify "I" so that the child looks at things from your perspective, for example "I'm getting bored because you're making a lot of noise and I'm not able to talk on the phone."

• Congratulate the child
Congratulations are very important to motivate a positive behavior in the child, capture the moment and say "I like the game you are playing!"; "He's playing very well now!" This is definitely more valuable than giving the child maximum attention while he is playing carelessly.

• Listen actively to your child
As the child speaks, he shakes his head in affirmation that he is listening and understanding. Also say what you think the child is feeling, "It feels like you're too upset to have your notebook torn." By reacting in this way, it helps the child to react properly to tension and strong emotions such as frustration, which often lead to undesirable behavior. Your reaction also helps them feel comfortable and respected.

• Keep promises!
When you keep your promises, good or bad, the child learns to respect you and trust you. The child learns that you will not disappoint him when you have promised him something pleasant and learns that he should not try to change your mind about an activity when you have clearly explained the reasons and consequences. So when you promise to go out for a walk in the park after work, do it! When you tell them you are leaving the store when the child is running carefree in the store, do it!

• Create a stimulating environment for positive behavior
The environment influences behavior and this is already proven, so you can modify the environment to help your child behave well. Make it possible for the child's space to have safe and stimulating objects to play with. Make sure he can't achieve things that could break or hurt him.

• Solve your battles
Before you get involved in an activity your child is doing, specifically saying "No" or "Stop," ask yourself if you really need to intervene. By minimizing negative instructions, requests, and reactions, you create fewer opportunities for conflict or negative feelings. Rules are important but use them only when necessary.

• Be determined
If you give up when your child is teasing you about something, you can accidentally reinforce it by making more teases. "No" means "No", not "Maybe", so don't say it if you're not sure.

• Prepare for challenging situations
There are moments when caring for a child and doing things you have to do becomes challenging. Prepare your child for activity change. Give 5 minutes before changing the activity the child is doing. Talk to him about the importance of his cooperation and in this way he will be prepared for what awaits you from him.

• Keep a sense of humor
Help keep your daily routine fun with your kids. You can do this using songs and humor. For example, play the role of a monster that wants children to collect all the toys.

Lastly and most importantly, maintain a consistent attitude towards your child so that your child feels safe and emotionally stable!

Msc. Aurora Lushej
Logopede / ABA Therapist