In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the common causes of behavioral issues in children of various ages. From normal child behavior to issues of anxiety, discomfort or even possible learning disorders, there are a number of reasons why kids may act out - and understanding them can be very helpful for addressing them productively.
At Smart Kids Development Center, child behavior is a common topic we discuss with parents for any of our child care programs, which including everything from infants and toddlers up to kindergarten classes and more. Today's part two of our series will switch gears a little bit, and dig into the kinds of things parents and other caregivers can do to manage and limit negative child behavioral issues.
One of the simplest and most effective ways for caregivers to encourage positive behavior in children is to reward them when they behave in the desired way. It’s important that rewards not be overused, as it can lead to a sense of entitlement in some kids – so think carefully before you decide on what kind of rewards work best for your child and situation.
For instance, some rewards can be verbal, like a simple “good job” or even a hug of appreciation – or maybe spend some extra time with the child doing one of their favorite activities. Other times, incentives related to the child's interests may work better, such as letting them pick out a small toy for behaving well in certain scenarios. It all depends on the age and maturity of the child, as well as their behavior.
It’s also important for caregivers to set clear boundaries and rules about unacceptable behaviors, in order for children to understand what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Having clear expectations makes it easier for children to understand the consequences of their actions.
For instance, if a child acts out in a particular way, they should be aware that there will be consequences for the unacceptable behavior. This can range from something as gentle and simple as a time-out to taking away privileges like not being able to watch television or play video games until they learn to behave better.
Finally, when it comes to disciplining children, consistency is key. If a child knows what to expect each time they misbehave in certain ways, they're likely to take the rules more seriously and potentially adjust their behavior accordingly.
It’s important for parents and other caregivers to stay proactive when it comes to managing and disciplining children. Whenever possible, try to address potential issues before they become a problem. For instance, if a child tends to act out in certain situations, take the time to understand why this is happening and discuss with them what could be done differently next time instead of simply reprimanding them for their bad behavior.
In the end, managing child behavior can be a difficult process – but with understanding, patience and consistency, it’s possible to help children learn how to manage their feelings and actions in responsible ways. At Smart Kids Development Center, we are here to help families better understand their children’s needs and provide them with the guidance they need to develop healthy and productive habits. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s behavior, please don't hesitate to reach out!