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Five Effective Strategies To Deal With Challenging Behaviour of Children

Team StoryWeavers|June 21, 2022, 17:36 IST| 3

“Seven am on the first day of summer vacation was, to her mind, a dangerous time to be awake. Even God had to be sleeping in.”

― Victoria Kahler, Luisa Across the Bay

One thing that almost all of us remember from our childhood is the period of summer holidays. Most families have summer holiday traditions that range from a mango-eating contest or visiting granny’s place, to scooting off to an exotic destination. Like everything else, summer plans have also been affected by the pandemic. Everyone is feeling it, and it has undoubtedly made it more difficult for parents to manage their children’s behaviour. 

In today’s post, we will cover five easy strategies to deal with the child’s behaviour.

Give Clear Instructions

With crystal clear instructions, parents can prevent many challenging behaviours displayed by their children. Clear instructions will also encourage children to follow through with parental requests as they realise exactly what needs to be done. Focusing on ‘what needs to be done’ instead of ‘what needs to be avoided’, being precise and not posing instructions as questions, and asking clarifying questions to ensure that children understand are some ways of giving clear instructions. 

For example:

  • Example 1
    • ✅Yes: Look at the speaker. 
    • ❌No: Don’t look down. 
  • Example 2
    • ✅Yes: Can you put away the toys?
    • ❌No: Please put the toys away before switching on the television.

Use Praise Effectively

Parents often praise their children for doing something out of the ordinary. However, if used correctly, praise can help you promote desired behaviour in your child. Here is a four-step praise process developed by Dr Alan Kazdin. 

  • Step 1: Think Of A Behaviour To Praise
    • Your child ate everything on the plate.
  • Step 2: Praise Enthusiastically
    • Well done!
  • Step 3: State The Desired Behaviour
    • You finished everything on the plate like we discussed.
  • Step 4: Add A Non-Verbal Gesture
    • Hug 

Parents need to offer praise immediately after the behaviour has taken place and parents must avoid statements that undermine the praise such as – see it is not that hard, why don’t you do this every day, etc. 

Set Effective Boundaries

Almost all parents know that they need to set boundaries for their children. ‘Connect and Redirect’ is a discipline tool but can also be used to set boundaries. It supports positive parent-child relationships. It has two steps – connect and redirect. 

  • Step 1: Connect 

Connection allows both parents and children to be more receptive towards each other. First step towards this is for parents to realise how they are responding to their child. Here are a few tips that parents can follow to connect better with their child.

    • Get down to the child’s level instead of towering over them
    • Paraphrase what the child is saying to help them feel understood
    • Add gentle touches and nods while listening to the child etc. 
  • Step 2: Redirect

Connecting with the child sets the groundwork for redirection as it makes the child emotionally ready for listening to the parents. Here is how you can use the redirect step to set boundaries with the child. Use limited words and try not to lecture the child. Remember to acknowledge the child’s emotions even when you might disagree with the actions. Explain to the child what is expected of them in concise language. Involve the child into the process by asking for their opinion or giving limited choices. 

Reiterate the boundary and if needed, ask the child to tell what is expected of them in their own words. 

Get To ‘Yes’

Children tend to like certain activities and dislike others like all of us. It can get quite difficult to get the child to move from one activity to another in such a scenario. That is when you can use this ‘Get to yes’ script to help children transition from one activity or place to another. Here is how you can do that in three simple steps:

  • Alert – Alert the child that the activity is about to end. Use a timer and say something to the effect of – In another two minutes, we will get out of the swimming pool. It lets the child know that the current activity is going to end soon. 
  • First Then – After that, use a first-then statement to let the child know about the upcoming activity. It will prepare them for what is coming next. It can be something like – First we will get out of the swimming pool and clean up, and then we can go have dinner. This reduces their anxiety as they understand what is going to happen in the near future. 
  • Get to yes – Children like to be in charge. Parents can use it to their advantage by asking a ‘would you rather’ question with two equally desirable actions. When children answer that question and say yes, they feel in control and it reduces the likelihood of challenging behaviour. The question can be something like – ‘Would you rather eat palak rice or peas pulao for dinner?’ 

Use ‘Time-Outs’ & ‘Time-Ins’

There are times when parents need to use disciplinary tools to manage their child’s behaviour. ‘Time-out’ and ‘Time-In’ are two such tools. Time-out is about some time away from the rewarding stimuli. It demands parents to deal with the children calmly and in a way that neither threatens or rewards them. Time-in is a four step process that builds the child’s trust in the parents. It enhances the parent-child relationship by making the child feel supported. The four steps are – ask, act, attend, and amend. Staying connected is at the core of this discipline technique. 

These are different behaviour management techniques that are likely to make things easier for parents this summer. Parents need to figure out what works best for their child and choose the tool that meets their unique requirements. Like everything else, consistency plays a huge role in managing the child’s behaviour. So be consistent, and you will see results in no time. 

Are you familiar with these techniques? Are you excited to try them out? Do let us know your experience of using these at home in the comments below. 

About the Author


“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!

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Comments



Sankar Prasad Das

May 14, 2021

Very good technique. I have learnt from this guidance which I never thought. Thank you.


Keval Bhambha

May 17, 2021

Amazing technique

I love it .
Thank you so much . I never thought


Arvind

December 1, 2021

Best app for kids


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