Improving Behaviour in Small Children

How a little distraction can lead to better behaviour.

Improving Behaviour

One of our main jobs as parents is to help guide our children to make wise choices.  Sometimes that can mean setting limits and doling our consequences when they break the rules. But when children are very young, guiding them can be as simple as redirecting their energy. Alyson Schafer, author of Honey I Wrecked the Kids explains that “in terms of loading up your democratic parenting toolbox, I think two great tools, especially for young kids and toddlers when you’re first embarking on child guidance around 16 or 18 months, is distraction and redirection.   At that age, children are often just experimenting with various behaviours and it’s very easy for them to discover that if they pull the dogs tail they get a big reaction from mom and dad.”

Overall, Alyson says that very young children “don’t actually need a big lesson, they just need to be guided toward something else to do.   So if they’re writing on the table we can we “markers need to go on paper” and we can redirect them over to the paper.” Not only do simple instructions make far more sense than punishment, but often children will feel proud that they’ve pleased mom or dad with their good behaviour!

The Parent Reports expert guest is Alyson Schafer, parent educatior and author of Honey I Wrecked the Kids

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