Here are ten simple strategies to improve your child’s behavior

Parents and teachers often wonder how to discipline a child with behavior problems. Some children genuinely have challenging behaviors regardless of what strategies we try. However, many children benefit when the adults in their lives make changes in the way they react, respond, or interact with them.

This article gives ten simple strategies that you can start implementing right now to encourage positive behavior in your child.

All of these strategies are positive and will help you connect with your child/student(s) in a way that will increase their confidence, self-respect, and respect for you.

10 Easy Strategies to Promote Positive Behavior

1. Acknowledge your children’s efforts out loud

Tell your child exactly what they did that you are proud of.

For example, you can say, “You were so focused on your spelling homework tonight! Keep up the good work,” or “That was so nice how you helped your brother with his homework, great job!”

When children get positive feedback for being well-behaved and doing good for others, they want to do it repeatedly. All children want to please the adults in their lives, so specific praise positively impacts most kids.

Praise is also an easy way to give your child positive attention, which kids desperately crave.

2. Use positive body language to show your child you are impressed by their good behavior.

Positive body language can be from a thumbs up, a pat on the back, a smile, or a high-five.

You know your child best – you’ll see if they prefer contact with a hug or reinforcement with a non-physical sign of acknowledgment.

3. Be funny!

Humor creates positive outcomes in kids. Make jokes, smile often, be silly and make them laugh. Humor is a great way to connect with your kids.

4. Be happy to see them

Smile at your child when you enter a room. Show them you are happy to see them and be in their presence. Ask your child about their day, and show interest in what they are excited about. When you are happy around a child, a child’s behavior is improved.

Kidcrew with Dr. Dina Kulik

5. Remind your child that they should be proud, and you are proud of them too

Remind them that they worked hard, and congratulate them on their diligent work. This helps build self-esteem and inner confidence. They will soon learn to be proud of themselves for working hard, being persistent, being kind to others, helping a friend, etc. If they feel successful because you instill this in them, they will be successful, and the child’s behavior will be better.

6. Take an interest in your child’s interests.

Find out what your child likes to do. Get excited about their accomplishments and interests. Ask them to teach you about something you are interested in. Plan activities in things that interest your child. Let them choose the topic and activity and watch their confidence soar.

7. Be empathetic to your child’s feelings.

When your child is feeling big emotions, be understanding. Your child will experience frustration, anger, sadness, nervousness, and every other feeling as they are growing up. Avoid making judgments and being aggressive or angry with your child. Instead, make empathetic statements like, “I understand that this test was hard for you” or “I understand that you are feeling angry. Let them know that you are there to help in any way you can. Your child’s behavior will be much better if they feel supported.

8. Be open-minded. Be open to your child’s feelings, values, or ideas.

Please don’t make your child feel wrong or bad about their opinion. It is ok for you to share your opinion and your reasons for it respectfully.

It is essential for your child to feel safe expressing themselves to you. Be open-minded. Don’t judge them. Don’t make them feel wrong. This can lead to more open dialogue and keep a safe space to share.

9. Be a role model for good behavior.

Suppose you want your child to behave well and be a kind person; model this yourself. Your child will watch how you interact with others and do the same. Children are little sponges and will pick up on our behavior. For example, a practical way to model good behavior is to be kind to everyone you interact with. Greet the mailperson and the store owner with respect and generosity. Children watch adults and model their behavior.

10. Be consistent. Be predictable. Mean what you say and say what you mean.

Set consistent boundaries and be clear on limits. Your child will value the safety that boundaries create. With clear expectations, children will learn how to behave. When they behave well, you will be happy and reinforce this, and your child will feel so proud. When they exhibit challenging behavior, instead of ignoring the misbehavior, make sure you respond in a way that enforces the rules fostering the skills necessary to end any aggression and teach appropriate behavior.

Have consistent rules that teach your children that they need to stick to their end of the bargain. Children should know their behavior has consequences.

Don’t make empty threats. Kids want to know how to stay within the boundaries set. This will make them feel safe. They learn how to behave to stay on your good side. Remember to praise them for doing well and being well-behaved. This will make their self-confidence sore.

Dr Dina Kulik - Kids Health blog

FAQs

Is it normal behavior for my toddler to have a tantrum every day?

Parents always ask me what behavior is normal in toddlers. For example, young children have temper tantrums when they experience intense feelings (anger, frustration, hunger, or fatigue) and cannot express these emotions constructively. Younger children experience these more often than older children, but most parents have experienced these at least once in their children.

How do I improve my young child’s behavior?

Make sure that all family members approach the unwanted behavior with the same approach. We want to reinforce the desired behavior positively and use age-appropriate discipline strategies based on your child’s age to avoid power struggles while reinforcing good behaviors. Kids struggle when there are inconsistent boundaries. Giving negative attention to poor child behavior can lead to ongoing temper tantrums and poor behaviors. Children respond to clear expectations and an understanding of how they can behave and what behaviors are appropriate, and what the expectations are.

What should I do about aggressive behavior and behavior problems in my child?

Make your child understands that aggressive behavior or dangerous behavior will not be tolerated. Bad behavior in young children should be approached quickly and consistently. We want to stop behavior problems as soon as concerns arise to prevent the development of a behavior disorder (such as oppositional defiant disorder) that can require behavioral therapy and other treatment. Parents should let their healthcare provider know of any behavior concerns as soon as they notice them.

Dr. Dina Kulik Pediatrician at Kidcrew Medical, Toronto Ontario

Dr. Dina Kulik - Author - Kids health and parenting advice.Dr Dina Kulik - Author - Kids Health and Parenting Advice

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About Dr. Dina Kulik MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dr. Dina Kulik completed her Pediatrics Residency and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Dina is one of Canada’s leading child health media experts, providing child health information through television, radio, print media, and via her blog DrDina.ca. Above all, Dina’s greatest joy is her family, and being the mom of four crazy boys.

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