Here are a few tips to help you promote positive behaviour:
- Make sure all toys are in good repair, the pieces are all there and they work correctly. Something in poor repair will mean a child is not able to use it as intended and it can be incredibly frustrating for them
- Children can become very involved in activities and need to be allowed to let things come to a natural conclusion. Asking them to stop an activity they have not finished can cause upset
- When you let your child know that in five minutes it’s time to leave/go to bed, try using a sand timer, so they can see the five minutes visually
- Join in play, model positive behaviour and praise it when you see it.
- When talking to children, don’t use too much language. Too many words can sometimes mean that the message gets lost and your child does know what it is they have been asked to do
- When dealing with inappropriate behaviour, use short clear phrases and a firm but calm voice and always make it clear that it the behaviour not the child that is unwanted
- Offer choices, this can often take conflict out of the situation. For example, if your child is refusing to sit at the table for tea, offer them a choice, ‘you can either sit down here on that chair or on the big chair next to me, which one are you going to choose?’
- Many young children can be diverted from inappropriate behaviour by giving them focused attention or simply turning their attention to something else. This can often be successful when diverting them to something that they are particularly interested in or a particular favourite toy or resource, e.g. if your child is starting to become agitated in the supermarket because they want a chocolate bar, try distracting them by giving them responsibility for finding a specific item on your shopping list that relates to them, e.g. fruit juice or cereal
- Children often misbehave when their routine is altered and they feel insecure, even if the routine is being altered because of something exciting or novel, so make sure you plan in advance and let them know what is happening
- And perhaps most important of all, be consistent. Ensure that all adults have the same boundaries, inconsistent boundaries can be very confusing for children as they don’t know is expected of them.