How to encourage good behavior in your child
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Children quickly learn how to behave when they get positive, consistent guidance from you. This means giving your child attention when they behave well, rather than just applying consequences when your child does something you don’t like.

Here are some practical tips for putting this positive approach into action.

1. Be a role model

Use your own behaviour to guide your child. Your child watches you get clues on how to behave – and what you do is often much more important than what you say. For example, if you want your child to say ‘please’, say it yourself. If you don’t want your child to raise their voice, speak quietly and gently.

2. Show your child how you feel

Telling your child honestly how their behaviour affects you helps your child see their own feelings in yours. And if you start sentences with ‘I’, it gives your child the chance to see things from your perspective. For example, ‘I’m feeling upset because there’s so much noise and I can’t talk on the phone.

3. Catch your child being ‘good’

When your child is behaving in a way you like, give your child some positive feedback. For example, ‘Wow, you’re playing so nicely. I really like the way you’re keeping all the blocks on the table’. This works better than waiting for the blocks to come crashing to the floor before you take notice and say, ‘Hey, stop that.

4. Listen actively

You can nod as your child talks and repeat back what you think your child is feeling to listen actively. For example, ‘It sounds like you feel really sad that your blocks fell. When you do this, it can help young children cope with tension and big emotions like frustration, which sometimes lead to unwanted behaviour. It also makes them feel respected and comforted. It can even diffuse potential temper tantrums.

5. Keep promises

When you follow through on your promises, good or bad, your child learns to trust and respect you. Your child learns that you won’t let them down when you’ve promised something nice, and your child also learns not to try to change your mind when you’ve explained a consequence. So when you promise to go for a walk after your child picks up their toys, make sure you have your walking shoes handy. When you say you’ll leave the library if your child doesn’t stop running around, be prepared to leave straight away.

6. Create an environment for good behaviour

The environment around your child can influence their behaviour, so you can shape the environment to help your child behave well. This can be as simple as making sure your child’s space has plenty of safe, stimulating things for your child to play with. Also, make sure that your child can’t reach things they could break or that might hurt them.

7. Choose your battles

Before you get involved in anything your child is doing – especially to say ‘no’ or ‘stop’ – ask yourself if it really matters. By keeping instructions, requests and negative feedback to a minimum, you create fewer opportunities for conflict and bad feelings. 

8. Be firm about whining

If you give in when your child is whining for something, you can accidentally train your child to whine more. ‘No’ means ‘no’, not ‘maybe’, so don’t say it unless you mean it.

9. Keep things simple and positive

Instructions should be clear, short and appropriate for your child’s age, so your child can understand and remember them. And positive rules are usually better than negative ones because they positively guide your child’s behaviour. For example, ‘Please shut the gate’ is better than ‘Don’t leave the gate open’.

10.  Give your child the chance to succeed

Set your child up to behave well, and then praise them for it. For example, give your child some simple chores or things that your child can do to help the family. Praising your child’s behaviour and effort will encourage your child to continue. And giving your child a lot of practice doing a chore helps them get better at it, feel good about doing it, and want to keep doing it.


A behavioural disorder can be caused by many reasons. If you can not manage your child's behaviour, you can consult the psychologists at the Camillians Rehabilitation Center.