6 ways to get your child to behave

Katherine - posted on 04/18/2012 ( 28 moms have responded )

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You've graduated from toddler tantrums...now you're dealing with a naughty preschooler! To help you handle this new stage of defiance, we've rounded up our members' top advice for responding to negative behavior and encouraging positive behavior.

1. Offer Choices and Alternatives



When a preschooler engages in a negative behavior, many Circle of Moms members encourage offering alternatives and choices instead of direct orders, because this encourages the child's emerging decision-making skills. Preschoolers are all about power and independence, so having options provides them with a sense of control. As Brandy S. shares: “Give her choices…she will feel completely grown up and she will have some control over something in her little world.”

2. Take Away Favorite Items



Many Circle of Moms members recommend disciplining preschoolers by taking away a favorite toy or special privilege. Tawna K. shares: “I told her she wouldn't get to play with a game she liked (which she had just gotten out, but not opened) if she didn't do what I was telling her…that worked really well, and seems to continue to be the best bet for her really stubborn streaks. She will usually even cooperate happily.” Esther M. concurs: “She usually calms down when I tell her she will not be doing something she likes. Example: Dora is coming to town and the moment she starts to misbehave I tell her she not going to see Dora, that seems to cool her off and she starts to listen.”

3. Behavior Chart



Several moms shared that a sticker-based behavior chart worked effectively as a discipline tool for their preschoolers. Clare H., mother to a 4-year-old boy, explains: “I have introduced a behavior chart. I only have to say, ‘Do you want a naughty sticker on your chart?’ and he tows the line now. I told him naughty stickers mean no TV that day and if he gets more good stickers than bad he could have a small chocolate treat at the end of the week.”

4. Timeouts



Many moms, including Emma F., use the traditional timeout to discipline preschoolers: “I found timeouts were the only solution to my four year old (now nearly 6) acting out. First time he was on the stairs and then any other misbehaving meant going to his room with the door shut. It was a slow process but it did work, just stick to it and she will soon learn that her behavior is unacceptable and there are consequences.” Common timeout tips include using a timer so the child knows how much time is left, using short periods (5 minutes or less), and resetting the timeout if the child misbehaves during it.

5. Indicate Your Confidence



As Nikki S. advises, it’s important that your preschooler knows you believe she can be good: “Often, it’s helpful to say something indicating your confidence in the child’s ability and willingness to learn: ‘When you get older I know you will (whatever it is you expect).’ ‘Next time you can (restate what is expected in a positive manner).’ This affirms your faith in the child, lets her know that you assume she has the capacity to grow and mature, and transmits your belief in her good intentions.”

6. Model and Praise Good Behavior



In addition to pointing out negative behavior, Circle of Moms members emphasize the importance of reinforcing good behavior. Katherine C. shared some of her favorite advice from Code Name Mama: “Instead of demanding the behavior from your child, do it yourself. Model it. Children learn more from seeing a behavior modeled than they do by hearing someone tell them to do it.”



In addition, many Circle of Moms advise that praising positive behavior is one of the best strategies for promoting and reinforcing good behavior in preschoolers. Sarah H. explains: “If your child is being quiet....praise them...they will get a buzz and be eager to please you more often. Same with other behavior…If they are waiting...say ‘wow, I notice how very patient you are being...thank you,’ with a smile....that reinforces good behavior and works wonders!!!”

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jackie - posted on 01/17/2014

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hi same ere,im raising my nieces daughter that ive got guardianship of,she is exactly the same,i find her more hard work than all my 3 was, and i fetched them up on my own,there now 34 33 32,shes really arguementative,says shes not eating her food,and because shes a looked after child i feed her,in case she losses weight,if she was 1 of my own kids,id just remove her plate and let her wait till dinner time,or tell her to do something,shel say " dont say that" or ill say you will do it,shel say iwont,its really irratating ahahha,but most of the time shes really lovable

Cathy - posted on 01/22/2014

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I read a book called the Strong Willed Child by James Dobson that helped me. Sounds like you have one on your hands.
Perhaps you could give it a go?

Tracy L - posted on 06/28/2013

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My 4 year old daughter LOVES to hear that I am "proud" of her. At her age, there seems to be so much correcting of her behavior that I am sure it is just as frustrating for her as it is for me. I always make sure that when she does the right thing all on her own I tell her how proud she made mommy, and her face just lights up. She knows then that what she is doing is what she SHOULD be doing. It is such a powerful word, especially to such a small child.

Madame - posted on 02/26/2013

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Explain why your are asking him or her to act a certain way. It may not make much sense to them at first, but they will catch on. Also, allow them to learn for themselves so they can understand the consequences.

Chandra - posted on 06/30/2012

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i was raised in a corporal punishment home, you know spare the rod and spoil the child. i have found that taking her things away makes it worse and she throws an even bigger fit. so i ask her if she wants a spanking and she says uh uh! she knows what a pop and a spanking is and she knows she doesn't like it. i also use use the words no hands. it means don't touch or hit. that works well to. i don't spank her everyday or all the time it just takes me looking around or looking disappointed for her to sit down and behave. most people don't believe in spanking a 15 month old but i need her to learn early that i do not play. bad behavior is for mongrels and not her. I am a single mother and don't have time for a disobedient child. i praise her all the time and she loves giving kisses. no hugs help as well when she misbehaves, most often i refuse her hugs and tell her she has to sit down because of what she did, believe it or not that works the best because she is so loving and hates not giving hugs and kisses. (i use this for when she hits or throws toys)

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Rachel - posted on 03/30/2014

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I have a 2 &1/2 year old he's not the biggest talker and I know being able to use your words help with tantrums & or misbehaving. I try to help him express what he wants but when I have asked him twice nicely to stop doing something ( I wait 5 secs before I ask again) then the third time I use a time out but I sometimes threaten timeouts witch works sometimes but I don't think I should. Opinions advice

Kellie - posted on 01/05/2014

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Okay, what about an, almost 3 yr old who is normally pretty good but, mainly when he gets tired, he yells at me and tells me he is not going to bed. If I tell him he is, he says, "well if you put me in bed, I'll just get down". Also when I put him in time out, he keeps getting out. One day I held him there and he screamed as though I was killing him. It's like he argues with me about everything and tries to get the last word. If I tell him not to say another word, he does it under his breath, "well I am going to say another word". I just can't believe it.
I'm actually his Gram raising him in his mothers absence. I've had him since a wk old. I raised 3 kids and don't ever recall what I am being told this is, terrible 2's. HELP!

Teresa - posted on 07/07/2013

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I have always had good outcoes with taking something away especially the older the child is. WIth a really young one timeouts seem to work. What has really worke for me is being proactive. Having a schedule, and knowing when they are tired or hungry really helps.

Cecilia - posted on 02/03/2013

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Reshma, you can make your own or print them online. just google it, you'll find tons and at least give you an idea of what you might want to write out.

The basics, you put down behaviors you're wanting to work on. For example for an older kid there would be a spot for did homework. If they do their homework without needing constant reminders, they would get a sticker. Depending on age depends on how many rows of behaviors that would be acceptable. I would say one row per year of age should work fine. One behavior per line, nothing overly complicated either.

Now you can do a negatives row. This is when they are not doing as asked you simply put a sticker in that area. I've never done this, i feel it's paying attention to the negatives rather than good behavior.

Now as far as what these stickers do for them... That is up to you. For a younger child the "prize" should be obtainable within a few days. This keeps them interested. Lets say my 4 year old has four rows of tasks to complete. After 5 stickers she can earn a prize. In our house it was a box filled with numerous things.The kids favorites were "coupons" I would write out things like "movie time with mom" "play date" "no chore (they could turn it in instead of doing a certain chore) If you choose to put more tangible items in there go ahead, go to the dollar store and pick up a few things that have multiple items in it that are given one at a time. This could be army men, necklaces, bubbles. walk around the store, you'll find a ton of ideas.

Reshma - posted on 02/02/2013

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I am sold out on the behavior chart idea, would somebody elaborate on how to do it ?? I use the time out method, offering alternatives and taking away favorite items at home with my son .

Kimberly - posted on 12/01/2012

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Thank you for the great tips! I will definitely use these. I'm running out of ideas for my very strong-willed child

Jenny - posted on 11/19/2012

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i am going to try these cause i got a 4 yr old who dont like to do what i sat thsank wish me luck lol

Jessica - posted on 10/15/2012

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Being a role model has been great, but our son is almost two (just starting to hit the tantrum stage) what has really helped is time outs. We have a specific place for him in the house where he will sit for a "time out". A min per age, for example since he is 1 he will sit for 1 min, when he turns 2 its for 2 mins. If your consistent with time out it works in public. Just the other day Judah was throwing a tantrum and I asked him "do you want time out" and he said "no" and stopped throwing a tantrum.

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thanx so much my children used 2 not behave plus my husband smacked them on the bum i hate it then he changed to giving them nappy punishments but now were both using timeouts and good charts ill say it again thanx ever so much u really hav helped may god bless u!!!xx

KAZ - posted on 06/01/2012

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Unkown user you are so right. I found a lot of my son's behaviour was a copy of how I act and made me change my ways (very good thing). Also my current mood would dictate his reaction. Now I take note and try and lead by example. But you other ladies for the short term all your advice really handy hints. The taking away of the things he likes is such a good incentive for him.

Katherine - posted on 05/27/2012

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How is this NOT for long term behavior? How do you deal with it Jdreev4?

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Wow, I hardly believe in any of what was posted above as far as tips. Most of what was posted is short term (external)solutions vr. long term (internal) solutions- which is what parents really need to be thinking/learning about. Don't get me wrong, most of these "tips" will help, but not in the long run. It will be short lived, most likely for most. If you're into 'training' kids like dogs, you might find this helpful. Problem is- kids aren't dogs. Parenting is not about immediate obedience anymore, but more about emotional intelligence and helping/guiding our children in learning self regulation. This is not achieved by the advice given above. # 1 is good and so is "Code Mama's" advice, “Instead of demanding the behavior from your child, do it yourself. Model it. Children learn more from seeing a behavior modeled than they do by hearing someone tell them to do it.” What a bummer that such old advice is being given in such an incredible time and new understanding of the brain and what really helps kids in the long run.

Kelly - posted on 05/19/2012

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These are great tips. My daughter may be a little young to use some of these just yet but I'll be sure to remember them for the future.

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