Encouraging the behaviours you want– some suggestions -3

Ignore behaviour you don’t like

You can make things worse by focusing on unwanted behaviour. Too much attention to unwanted behaviour teaches children that misbehaving is one way of getting the attention they want and need

Ignore little things

It is best to ignore little things or, at the very least, treat them lightly. Intervene only when behaviour is really unacceptable or unsafe. This is particularly important with small children. For example, it is often best to ignore messes, grizzling, demanding behaviour and bad moods.

Ignore cheeky or rude behaviour in small children

If the child uses ‘rude’ words act in an uninterested way or say:

• I am not interested in that.

• We don’t use those words in our house.

Avoid giving children negative messages all the time. It makes them feel that they can never get it right – their self-esteem suffers and they may feel angry and resentful towards you.

Don’t ‘sweat the small stuff’ with older children

Everyone has faults, makes mistakes and forgets things sometimes. Let it pass unless it is serious or ongoing. Treat it lightly, the first time at least – a gentle reminder is enough.

• Hey, you didn’t put your bike away last night.

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