As parents, we want the best for our kids. Therefore, we expect the best out of them. We want our children to earn good grades. We want them to have a healthy sense of independence. We want them to exhibit a positive attitude and good behavior. Of course, kids will be kids. Expecting them to behave perfectly at all times is unrealistic. From throwing tantrums to defiance, young kids’ behavior can make life difficult for you and your family from time to time. This is where the importance of behavior management comes in.

Part of our role as parents is to put strategies in place that encourage our kids to behave appropriately while teaching them the consequences of their actions. This isn’t always easy to do, but learning about acceptable behavior starts at home. Keep in mind that kids don’t misbehave because they want to be “bad”. They often behave the way they do as a means of testing boundaries and trying to assert their independence. This is a natural part of growing up. 

If you’ve ever wondered how to effectively instill positive behavior habits in your little one, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a list of behavior management tips you might find handy!

Set clear expectations

Parents may think that enforcing positive discipline with their kids isn’t something that requires a lot of explaining. But it does. Children don’t automatically understand the “what, why and how” of what is expected of them. It’s important that you, as the parent, provide clear and specific directions. Explain the reasons behind your expectations. Help your kids understand how they will benefit from behaving well.

Setting expectations doesn’t have to be complicated. You can say something like, “Start working on your homework early so you can still enjoy some playtime before bed,” or, “Finish your vegetables so you can stay healthy and be able to run around at the playground this weekend.”

Use positive reinforcement

Like adults, young kids need to receive positive reinforcement to help encourage good behavior. However, positive reinforcement does not necessarily have to equate to a reward system. Positive reinforcement is a strategic tool that comes in the form of free, or low-cost, reward options. These don’t have to be tangible items. The reward can be as simple as giving your child a compliment for finishing his or her school project early, or giving your little one a hug because he or she shareda toy with a sibling. Or you may decide to grant your child an extra hour of playtime because he or she behaved well in school. 

Model appropriate behavior

Young kids learn by example. They emulate the things they observe from the adults in their lives. This is why it’s crucial that parents set a positive example for their kids to follow. 

To encourage appropriate behavior from your little one, be sure to model the behaviors you want to see him or her exhibit. Exhibit kindness and respect at home, especially when you’re around your family. Be sure to say “thank you” when a family member does something nice for you, even if it’s something as simple as passing food at the dinner table. 

Ignore negative behavior

Ignoring negative behavior may not seem like the best thing to do initially. This is especially challenging when your child is in the middle of a meltdown. But remember that bad behaviors are usually a cry for attention, and ignoring them can help to reduce behaviors like meltdowns. If your child notices that he or she isn’t getting any attention for pushing your buttons, he or she will come to realize that this trick isn’t effective.

On the other hand, do show your child attention and recognize when he or she is behaving well, like quietly reading in a corner, for example. Acknowledge when your child finishes the food on his or her plate. This way, they’ll be able to associate positive attention with desirable behaviors. 

Foster a loving relationship with your child

Another important behavior management strategy parents need to remember is nurturing a loving relationship with our children. A positive parent-child relationship is key when it comes to effectively instilling discipline in children. Young kids tend to listen to their parents more and follow expectations when they feel adequately loved and cared for.  

Even when you discipline your child or give them consequences for negative behavior, make sure your child understands your reasons for doing so. Children need to clearly understand that you only want what’s best for them and their welfare. 

There’s no such thing as a perfectly behaved child. Children will test their limits and push boundaries from time to time. If you’re looking for ways to minimize challenging behavior in your home, these behavior management strategies are worth a try!

Here at Cornerstone Learning Center, we partner with parents to help to teach exemplary values and instill positive behavior in children. Learn more about us. Contact us for more information.