Positive Ways for Guiding Your Child’s Behaviour

When you are trying to encourage and teach good behaviours for your child, it’s better to focus on the positives. The more loved and understood your child feels, the easier it is to manage their behaviour.

Here are 8 practical tips: 

  1. Pay attention to good behaviour and give praise

Catch your child when they are behaving well and give recognition to encourage behaviours you want. It’s better to give your child positive attention for good behaviour than negative attention for misbehaviour. If you keep focusing on the positives, your child is more likely to seek positive than negative attention.

 “Wow, thanks for putting your toys away all by yourself!”

 “Great job for doing all your homework before dinner.” 

2. Give rewards to encourage desired behaviour

Decide what behaviour you want and reward it. Choose a reward that your child wants (for example stickers, extra time at the playground, or baking cookies together).  

“You got dressed all by yourself. Here is a sticker for your collection.”

3. Set clear expectations to teach appropriate behaviour

Let your child know ahead of time what is expected of them. Make a few simple, age-appropriate rules. Focus on what your child should do, not shouldn’t do.

 “Now we’re going to the store. Please walk next to me and hold my hand.”

4. Change things to avoid situations 

If certain misbehaviours happen over and over again, you can change the environment by adding, removing, or substituting something. For example, if your child leaves their coat on the floor every day, you could add a coat hook where they can reach it.  

5. Ignore to decrease negative behaviour

If your child frequently does something that you don’t want them to, you could ignore the behaviour (as long as they are safe) – for example whining. To ignore the whining, breathe deeply and think pleasant thoughts. 

6. Let natural consequences occur 

To decrease undesirable behaviour, let natural consequences occur (as long as your child is safe). For example, if your child refuses to wear mitts, being outside without them on a cold day may teach them quickly why they should wear them. 

7. Practice appropriate behaviour with your child

Help your child re-do the situation when they don't know how to behave. For example, if they were rough petting a cat, take your child’s hand in yours and show them how to pet the cat gently. 

8. Problem-solve a better way to find a solution that fits you both

State your preference and your child’s preference, and ask the child for a way that works for both of you. 

“My way is to go to bed now. Your way is to stay up late. What is a better way?” 


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