It is important to develop strategies to increase the behaviours you want to see in your child. By fostering positive behaviours, we help children develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments and to understand expectations and structure. This will in turn help decrease negative behaviours.
Some useful strategies:
- Develop good relationships with your children. No strategies for managing misbehaviours will work unless you have a good relationship with your child. Spending quality time with your child and talking to them about stuff that they are interested in is one way to develop a healthy, loving relationship. Spending small amounts of quality time (even 1 or 2 minutes) often throughout the day is more effective than spending longer periods but only once in a while.
- Praise and reinforcement. Catch your child being good! Look for opportunities to praise your child no matter how brief. For example, if your child usually has difficulties sitting still during dinner, look for a second when they are still and praise them. Where possible, try to use specific praise so that your child knows exactly what they are doing well.
- Giving Instructions. Give your instructions positively. Instead of saying “Stop snatching toys”, say “Share your toys”. Keep your instructions clear and simple. For some children with additional needs, you may want to accompany your verbal instructions with visuals. It may also be helpful for some children to be given choices.
- Visual and Sensory. Some children with additional needs may need extra input in order to fully understand their environment and to regulate. Examples of visual and sensory strategies include the use of timers and visual schedules to help children understand expectations and time. Use fidget tools and/or allow movement breaks for children who need it.
- Reflect and Reach Out. Reflect on the ways you interact with your child. Do you praise enough? Are your expectations appropriate? Involve other professionals and seek help if needed!