The regular sleeping session bouts, eating tantrums, homework extensions and sibling manipulations are no fun for parents. It seems unpleasant repeating the same things almost every day. And when things turn into an ugly form (which usually do), there is non-stop discomfort.
One would not like wasting so much of the time (and energy) in disparaging ways. So, why not implement the worthy ways of redirecting child behavior which can keep both you and your bundle of joy contended? Every child is unique; parents who understand that their children’s behavior is an outcome of an inherent fact can better train and educate them. Adopting the redirecting approach can not only provide instant solutions to your parenting concerns but also serve well in shaping your child’s personality.
Individual child behavior can be different and the same redirecting behavior may not work with all. You have to identify your specific requirement(s) and implement one (or more) in accordance. Here are some helpful ways to help you in redirecting child behavior. Hopefully, you find (at least) one functionally effective way by reading what follows.
Ways to Redirect Child Behavior
Put Limits through Positivity, not through Negativity
A child needs time and opportunities to amend. As an adult, you have better understanding and developmental outcomes and may expect the same in return. But if you are not giving enough time and opportunities to your child for improving and raising skills, you are demanding a bit too much. Creating a positive atmosphere for learning is very important.
Focus on what to do rather than what not to do. If you want your child to put the toy at the right place after he finishes playing with it, tell him to keep it in its right place. Don’t say that you do not want to see the toy wandering here and there. Instead, you can tell him or her that keeping the toy at the right place will enable him or her to find it easily the next time he or she wants to play with it.
Mind the Behavior, Rather than the Child
Pointing on the child’s character (with constant “you did that” addressing) can seem attacking and too critical. It can even create feel of guilt and decrease self-worth children.
Promising author Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs points that parents and mentors should identify the ‘mistaken’ goals when redirecting child behavior. A child will often turn to a ‘mistaken’ goal to meet his unmet need(s). As parents and caretakers, it is important to mark a child’s behavior in response to your action.
Be Straightforward and Precise, Rather than Confusing
When you are teaching discipline and routines, you should be clear and straightforward in conveying what you want. In situations when you want your child to behave is a specific manner, do not give choices because that can lead to uncertainty. If you want to give choices, furnish the ones which are in harmony with what is expected.
For example, if you want your child to finish his food, you can give him choices to begin with one veggie first (and may be the other not-so-favorite one later). Do not say “Do you want to finish food?” Ensure that your child knows why the behavioral outcome is a problem and needs correction. With age, children should learn to behave properly and gain better control of them.
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Redirect at the Opportune Time, Not any Time
Children, particularly toddlers, can reveal limited verbal abilities and short attention spans. To redirect child behavior, distraction can serve as a promising way of resolving the problem. Changing the situation or diverting from the problem-causing situation can eliminate unwanted behavioral outcomes.
To the utmost possibility, children should be redirected to activities which are in line with their needs. For example, if controlling your child indoors seems too demanding, consider an outdoor activity.
Offer Praise and Gentle Touch
Sometimes, ignoring a negative behavior also works well. If you are getting too disturbed due to a bad behavior, you are giving a signal that it is a tool for grabbing attention and (possibly) getting the work done. Children can change behavior by using soothing touch and praise.
Praising children increases their self-worth and confidence; it also enables them to mold for betterment. Even if their unmet needs are not accomplished, they can be contended with your admiration. You can then decide whether the child’s demand is feasible or not.
Recognize your Emotional State
It is not always that you will find the problem within your child. The problem can be with your emotional state and behavior. If you are not unavailable when he needs you, or too stressed out and intolerant of his behavior, you can be putting the child into trouble. Before you respond to your child, recognize your state. If you cannot calm yourself, don’t expect to calm your child. Do some relaxation, like breathing or take a break, to focus on problem solving.