Principles that encourage good behaviour in all of us

There are some principles or guidelines which, if applied consistently, encourage children (and adults) to behave well.

• Give positive attention to Praising children with appreciation and hugs for good behaviour is far more effective than criticising and punishing them for things they do wrong.

• Ignore little things Intervene only when the child is behaving really badly or a child is in danger. Children learn to tune out or turn off if they feel constantly nagged. Their self-esteem also suffers if they feel as though they can never get anything right.

• Ensure children understand what is expected of them Explain to children exactly what you expect of them, and help them understand what behaviour you want. Avoid focusing only on what they do wrong.

• Communicate clearly If children don’t hear or understand adults’ messages, they can’t do what is asked of them. Make sure you have their attention, keep messages short and check that children understand

Rewarding children for good behaviour with praise and hugs is far more effective than criticising and punishing children for things they do wrong

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