Helping a child manage their own behaviour

Teaching your child good behaviour can be a challenge for any parent, but it is a challenge that brings satisfying rewards.

Every parent has their own way of instilling good behaviour in a child, but a far more lasting approach can be to teach them to manage their own behaviour.

By teaching a child to manage their own behaviour, they will mature and develop other skills such as self-discipline. It also means you won't have to keep such a close eye on them.

Teaching a child to manage their own behaviour, to know when they are behaving correctly or inappropriately, can be tough. So how should you go about it?

Empathise with your child
When your child behaves badly or reacts inappropriately, tell them that you understand why they are frustrated or angry.

But this doesn't mean you should avoid disciplining them. Tell them why they're actions were wrong, and explain how they should behave next time.

Acknowledge good behaviour
It's easy for a parent to immediately notice the bad things a child does, but many parents forget to acknowledge good behaviour as well.

By doing this, children can think that if they behave badly they will get more attention – so remember to praise and reward your child if they do something positive.

Create a behaviour chart
By creating a wall chart, your child will be able to see when they have behaved well or misbehaved. Mark your child's good behaviour with a gold star on the chart, and bad behaviour with a red dot.

By seeing their progress on a chart, children will be motivated to behave appropriately more often to earn more rewards.

Signs of changing behaviour
It might take a while, but watch your child closely for signs of a change in their behaviour. It will happen eventually.

Signs that your child is managing their own behaviour could involve things like cleaning up after themselves, not responding to conflict with violence, and being more honest about their actions.
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