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Promoting positive behaviour


Here are our top tips for promoting positive behaviour with your child and how to react when your child says or does something you really wish they wouldn’t.

Tips to promote positive behaviour

  • Praise your child when they are behaving in ways that you want to encourage, being really specific with your praise.
  • If you can see that they’re about to do something challenging, try to redirect them and distract them with something else before it gets to that.
  • Keep your child stimulated at the right level, being under-stimulated can lead to boredom and challenging behaviour. But equally, being overstimulated can lead to challenging behaviour through overwhelm. Find a pattern to your days that keeps your children sufficiently stimulated, see our previous post on this.
  • Role model the kinds of behaviours that you want to see.
  • Set consistent age-appropriate expectations.
  • Give children a warning before something needs to happen.
  • Don’t do too many sedentary things, particularly not one after the other.
  • Keep your focus on what you want your child to do rather than what you don’t want them to do.
  • Help your child to learn about feelings and emotions – include naming feelings and emotions in your daily conversations and talk children through how you self-regulate.
  • Try to teach your child the reason behind why they should do things rather than trying to get them to act a certain way either for a reward or to avoid a negative repercussion.

Tips on how to react to challenging behaviour

  • Stay calm.
  • Focus on why they did whatever it was that they did and how to prevent it from happening again.
  • Avoid labelling the child as ‘being’ something like naughty.
  • Wait for your child to calm down before talking to them about what’s happened in age-appropriate ways.
  • Work out what helps your child to calm down, is it close contact, or space, something sensory or some simple grounding?
  • Try to find solutions to issues together.
  • Try to take the things that are important to your child seriously.
  • Allow your child to make choices about the things that they can when they can.
  • Remember that challenging behaviour is often your child’s way of communicating that something doesn’t feel right to them.