Handout – Strategies for Managing Behaviour1 Pre-empt the problem
If you see a difficult situation arising, distract the child to another and more desirableactivity. It is worthwhile keeping one or two of these up your sleeve for possible difficultsituations.
2 Give clear rules
Where possible, don’t only say what the rule is, but show the child how to behave. You area role model for children, especially if they value your opinion and view you as animportant person in their lives.
3 Give an early warning
If you are about to ask a child to change activities from a particularly pleasant to a lesspleasant one, giving an early warning can often prevent a heated reaction to your request.For example, ‘In ten minutes time it will be clearing up time.’ Remember to carry out yourinstruction: make sure that, after ten minutes, you insist it is time to clear up.
4 Exchange ‘bad news’ for ‘good news’
You can always make a disliked activity less unpleasant by pairing it with a more pleasantone. For example, bedtime means story time as well.
5 Change the setting
Sometimes you can rearrange the furniture to a different place or a higher level or even,when you are outside the house, involving the child in the activity – for example, shopping,gardening, etc.
6 Introduce a secret prompt
If you and the child(ren) agree beforehand on a secret signal to act as a gentle prompt,this can prevent a possible uncontrolled situation. This works better with older children.
7 Ignore ‘bad’ behaviour; praise ‘good’ behaviour
This is a fairly difficult plan to operate but it can be very effective if you persist. Obviously itis not appropriate if the child is indulging in any kind of dangerous activity.
8 Catch the child being good
This is easy and very effective! For example, a compliment like ‘Nice to see you twoplaying so well.’ is more effective than only giving attention when something goes wrong.
9 Restitution and over-correction
These have a certain natural justice. Restitution involves the child making good thedamage that has been done – for example, spilt liquids being mopped up. Over-correctioninvolves the culprit doing more than this – for example, tidying up the whole room afterthrowing toys.