Supporting Positive Behavior
The best way to prevent negative behaviors is to support positive behaviors. The following are actions that families and parents can take to encourage positive behavior that reduces the number of times children respond with challenging behavior.
- Establish a strong relationship with your child based on unconditional love and concern for the child's feelings.
- Prepare a good environment by removing tempting or dangerous items and providing enough positive activities for them to do.
- Plan your activities taking into consideration your young children's needs in mind (e.g., nap, rest, water, food, length of activity, attention span, etc.).
- Avoid placing children in adult situations (late night meals in restaurants, adult events or entertainment, etc.). Try not to expect adult behavior from a child (e.g., sitting still for long periods).
- Notice and praise positive behaviors with words and tangible rewards. Watch children and redirect their actions before problems occur.
- Avoid circumstances that cause negative behavior (e.g., the need for rest, too much noise or stimulation, hunger, discomfort from heat or cold, teasing, too many children in one group, not enough to do, long rides in the car).
- Remind your children of your family rules or what you expect ahead of time.
- Help children solve problems, make choices, and see possible consequences.
- When a problem occurs, always listen to your child so you can understand what is happening and help him or her calm down if the child seems to be getting upset or frustrated.