Encouraging the behaviours you want– some suggestions -6

Help children feel good

Every child needs to develop their own internal control or self-discipline. This is more likely to happen when the adults around them model helpful, respectful and non-violent behaviour and when children feel approved of, loved and valued. These children will feel good about themselves and are likely to behave acceptably.

Saving face

Like everyone else, children sometimes need to save face when they make a mistake or don’t behave well. Be sensitive to children’s needs in these situations. Say things like:

  • Never mind. We all forget things sometimes.
  • That was a bit too heavy for you. Next time ask me to help.
  • Mary is sometimes bossy. Let’s talk about ways to help you keep your temper when you are playing with her.
  • Mummy makes mistakes sometimes and that is how we learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • Next time try doing it this way.

Even though children can be forced to behave well through fear of punishment or pain, these feelings do not encourage children to self-disciplined in the long term.

• Avoid going over and over mistakes and shortcomings
• Don’t make children feel silly
• Don’t tease children about their faults
• Tell children how pleased you are when they get it right
• And tell them often that you love them

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