If you don’t know how to successfully respond to your child’s behaviour it can leave you feeling frustrated and annoyed. It can also be SO exhausting if you find yourself constantly telling your child off. We also have to be mindful that we are balancing the attention we give our children and that we have about a 5 to 1 ration for positive responses (“thank you so much for helping mum pick up your toys” to negative responses (“stop throwing toys inside”).
Parenting is so exhausting but having the right tools up your sleeve will make things a lot easier for you. Children have to learn to manage their behaviour and become regulated. They learn to do this by us responding to them in a consistent way and for having consistent consequences for inappropriate behaviour.
The most important thing with consequences is that they don’t need to be horrible and punishing. They should be used as a way of stopping certain behaviour, allowing your child the chance to become regulated, and teaching them to take responsibility for their actions. The hardest part will be containing your own behaviour and emotions during the times when your children push and push you towards that breaking point.
Consequences should not be physically or mentally punishing and hurtful. This is not about punishing your child!! We don’t want to create shame in our children. Instead we want to help them to develop the connection between the front and bottom parts of their brain. They build these connections through practice and we can “signal” to them to help trigger this brain activity. I’ll describe what I mean by “signalling” in the Managing Behaviour Tip Sheet and How to Guides. Younger children more so than older children need us to manage their environment and think ahead for them, to help them behave appropriately. This will help them to make better behavioural choices.
Your mindset is very important for successful behaviour management. It’s important to understand that you’re helping your child strengthen connections in their brain. It’s not about harsh punishment and shaming, it’s about teaching, learning and nurturing.
Teaching your child consequences for their actions and managing their behaviour can be done quite peacefully and gently. It’s all up to you as the parent to guide and shape the process. We want to be warm and caring, but at the same time firm.
I like the use of a calm corner/regulation zone/calm spot. This can be used when your child’s is showing you the signs that they need help to regulate their behaviour. This is NOT time out. It’s about helping them to regulate and calm down so that they can make better behavioural choices. Generally they would spend about one minute per year of their age (e.g. a three year old would spend three minutes). You can absolutely sit with them and cuddle them during this time. Avoid talking to them too much as this is overwhelming for them when they are in that reactive zone. Older children might be happy to sit on their own and read a book or play with a sensory toy while they calm down.
These five ingredients for managing behaviour are based on developmental psychology, neuropsychology and positive psychology principals. You will learn to manage your child’s behaviour in a way that doesn’t involve yelling and screaming or harsh discipline. You will feel relieved as a parent because you will know how to respond and you’ll be amaze at how effective and simple it can be with time and consistency. Once you’ve learnt these five step’s you’ll be able to manage your child’s behaviour in 15 seconds or less!
The 5 Ingredients for Managing Behaviour are:
- Create rules (Big behaviours)
- Introduce and teach
- Remain Calm
- Regulation time
Download my FREE TIP sheet now. The how to guide and workbook which goes into more detail about how to actually setup and implement the above five ingredients successfully is coming out soon. Subscribe to stay up to date.