How to Encourage Better Behavior in Children
Every parent wants their child to behave better, but only parents see everything their child does. It is easy for a parent at a grocery store to pass judgment on you and your child as they walk by while your child is screaming at the top of their lungs, but it is almost as hard for you to remember that your child can behave well during that same time. “I wish that you would just behave yourself,” is a common phrase that many parents are heard saying to their children in the store. Well, getting your child to behave better is actually easier than you might think.
Usually, the best way to encourage good behavior is to discourage bad behavior. The first thing you need to do is be consistent in your discipline. Instead of jumping around from yelling, to spanking, to time-outs, pick one and stick to it. Whenever your child acts up, discipline them immediately, and make sure they understand why they are being disciplined. Don’t put your child in a time-out, let them sit there forever and then walk away, leaving them with no reason for it. Likewise, don’t spank your child and send them on their way. Take a moment to tell them what they did wrong before you send them on their way.
Point Out What They Do RIGHT
A child can become overwhelmed with everything they do wrong, so make sure you point out what they do right. You know the feeling you get when you are at work and all anyone can seem to do is point out the mistakes you make, it’s why an employer will point out what you have done right in your review. Your child feels the same way when you are only talking to them when they mess up. The cool thing is, you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to tell your child that they did something you approve of. Tell your child that you like how they get themselves up every morning, or how you are proud that they dress themselves every day, even a quick hug and an “I love you” goes a long way to a child who doesn’t hear it very often.
Simplify Rules and Remind Often
Making your rules consistent will help your child to know what the rules are. At my house, we have one rule that covers everything: respect everybody and everything. While this might seem like a very broad rule, it is very easy for my children to understand. Simple rules like this one can work at any age. Sit down with your children and explain to them what this covers and stick to it.
Don’t tell your child to respect everybody and everything and then let them treat you, or their sibling, like garbage. As soon as they start to act out, discipline them. If you are in a store, that might mean leaving immediately, if you are at a park, they might not get to back for a few days. It might take a few tries, but they will get the idea and your child will begin to behave the way you want them to.
One way we encourage good behavior is to be sure to have “alone time” whenever we see our children getting a little edgy. They may have done nothing wrong… yet… but getting them in a quiet place to calm down a bit before being around the rest of the family. Our children are all over “nap” stages but they still need their alone/quiet time. Kids get stressed, too!!
One great toy for younger children, around the ages of three and twelve, is the BizyBeez MagStix Magnetic Toy System. It is a great way to get your children to enjoy some individual play time that keeps their hands busy but their mouth quiet. Sometimes, that is just enough of a break to help attitudes calm down.
MagStix is a 41-piece magnetic toy system. Children can design any creation they can think of. Four different textures allow children to add to their sensory development (great for children with Autism, ADHD or anxiety disorders).
BizyBeez MagStix Magnetic Toys also adds self-confidence which also helps with better behavior. You can see it all over my girl’s face when she came to show me her creation!
The trick is to be patient and consistent. Your child will not behave overnight, and even in a month or two, but you will begin to see changes. In a few months, you might notice that you are sending your child’s into time-outs less often, or that you actually made it through an entire shopping trip without having to stop, whatever it is, make sure to take a moment and recognize it.