Useful tools, Wellbeing

Effective behaviour management strategies for children

16 December, 2022

With most children, good behaviour doesn’t just happen – it’s not something they’re inherently born with, or something they will learn themselves over time. As with any other skill, your child must be taught how to manage their behaviour. The question is: how?

Teaching your child behaviour management is essential. It’s a skill that will serve them as they enter the classroom, interact with peers and even go into the workforce later in life.

Of course, it is totally normal for children to sometimes behave badly – especially if they are going through a challenging developmental stage. Bad behaviours can be related to physical discomfort, a need to express oneself (and not knowing how best to do it) or complex emotions that are difficult to understand and work through.

So how do you define behaviour management? In theory, behaviour management is about guiding your child’s behaviour toward more appropriate means of self-expression. Many early childhood experts recommend a positive and constructive approach that sees parents praise good behaviour, rather than punishing bad behaviour.

Because every child is different, it is helpful for parents to know about the popular children’s behaviour management strategies in child care – as well as behaviour management strategies for babies in child care – so that they can apply them at home, too.


Early Childhood Behaviour Management Strategies

Here, we provide a brief summary of some of the most popular methods for behaviour management…

  • Setting clear expectations: These expectations can be in the form of simple, clear rules – these rules or expectations will help your child understand the way they need to behave and what behaviour is appropriate.
  • Structured schedules and routines: These help your child feel a sense of security in their environment, leading to confidence, happiness and good behaviour. Uncertainty can cause anxiety or distraction, which can lead to bad behaviour.
  • Encourage good behaviour through praise: As previously mentioned, effective behaviour management will reward good behaviour. This could mean giving your children rewards when they behave well or sharing examples of rewards that have come from your own positive behaviour – e.g., a pay rise.
  • Discourage bad behaviour through active ignoring: In some cases, paying attention to bad behaviour is the same as rewarding it. When a child is displaying mild bad behaviour, actively ignore it while praising good behaviour in others.
  • Document bad behaviour to identify root causes: Not all outbursts or acts of bad behaviour are alike, so it’s helpful to take note of the context to identify why your child may be acting in a certain way.
  • Establish and enforce consequences: Praising positive behaviour is the most effective approach, but there will always be instances where bad behaviour must have consequences. These consequences must be explained to your child in advance and have a clear connection to the behaviour involved.


Choosing a behavioural management strategy that’s right for your child

Remember: not all children are alike, and not all bad behaviour is the same. Educate yourself about the different kinds of behavioural management so that you can respond appropriately and effectively in the moment.

If you are concerned about your child’s bad behaviour, work with your child’s early childhood educators to come up with a behavioural management plan.

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