Sticking To These Strategies
Before we go any further, I want to say how important it is to stick to these strategies and not give up. If your child is already used to misbehaving, these changes won’t happen overnight. Be patient. If you stay strong and consistently enforce these strategies, they will have an effect and help you curve your child’s behaviour over time.
It’s important you don’t give in if your child is trying to not listen to their punishment. You are the parent, they need to listen to you. Even if you need to sit down with them initially and make sure they stay on their time out, or if you have to take away all their privileges from them at once. Sooner or later they will learn to listen to what you have to say, and if you tell them to ‘stop’, they will do so. So, let’s get into the first strategy.
Behaviour Management Strategy 1 – Explaining Bad Behaviour
One of the best ways to manage a child’s behaviour throughout life, is through the use of your voice. While grounding and taking away privileges can be effective if you need to resort to that, if you can get your child to stop whatever they are doing simply by saying a few words that is ideal.
There are two stages of using your voice to manage behaviour:
- Using your voice to stop your kid misbehaving, and
- Using your voice to explain to your child why what they are doing is wrong.
Below I will look at what each of them involve:
Getting Your Child To Stop
Let’s talk about the first point first. The aim is to be able to simply say ‘stop’ in an authoritative voice, and have your child stop behaving in a way that they shouldn’t be. While it can take a while for your child to get used to this, when they know you are serious this will be your greatest weapon.
To get them used to this, the next time they are misbehaving try it. If they don’t stop misbehaving after the first time they are told, put into action one of the punishments in the sections below. Explain to them that from now on, you will only tell them to stop once. If they carry on, they are in trouble. If your child isn’t already used to this, they will probably get into trouble a few times before get used to this new routine. They will kick up a fuss and complain. They may even cry. Stick to the plan though, and they will get used to it eventually. This will make managing their behaviour a lot easier in future.
Explaining Bad Behaviour
The second way you should use your voice is by explaining to them what they are doing wrong. Young children don’t naturally know right from wrong until they are told. Even then, it can take a couple of times of explaining to them for it to sink in. This is why explaining to them that something is bad (And why) is a very important behaviour management strategy. I’d advise you explain why their actions are naughty, and if they carry on doing the same thing after that, get them to explain to you why you put them in trouble. They should be able to explain to you what they have done wrong, and be more open to reflecting during their punishment.
Behaviour Management Strategy 2 – Time Out For Kids
When it comes to getting your child used to reacting to your voice, you may need to use other behaviour management strategies alongside it. One of the best strategies you can use is putting your child on time out.
Time out is the process of putting your child to sit and think about what they have done wrong. They whole point is for them to calm down, and recognise they have been behaving in a way they shouldn’t be. You can talk to them at the beginning and end of time out, so they are aware of what they have been doing that isn’t acceptable. At the end of the time out, they will hopefully have a different mindset, and think twice about doing what got them in trouble in the first place.
The danger with time out however, is that it can be used too often. If this happens, it will become less effective. Children naturally want to play, but if they are on time out all the time, they will become used to it. If they learn to deal with it, it won’t feel like a punishment any more. In order to avoid this, try not to overuse this disciplinary method. Instead, use it alongside the other strategies on this page, and get them used to reacting to your voice as soon as possible.
Behaviour Management Strategy 3 – Taking Away Privileges
Another behaviour management strategy you can use for kids is taking away privileges. This is an effective strategy for managing behaviour as it can work with any child of any age. It involves taking away a favourite item or activity when the child misbehaves. If you tell them to stop and they carry on or do it again, take away an item they would miss. This could be their computer games, their doll, or their favourite toy. You could also stop them from doing activities, such as going to the park or going to get ice cream.
You should explain to them why you have taken the item or activity, and let them know that if they don’t listen next time the same thing will happen again.
What’s good about taking away privileges, is that it will never stop being effective. If they get used to not playing with one item, you simply take away their new favourite item. Or you don’t give them money to go to that theme park they wanted to go to. Until they have their own income and are living alone, this punishment will continue to be effective.
If you wan to know more about this subject, check our article on taking away privileges from misbehaving children.
Behaviour Management Strategy 4 – Grounding Your Kid
While only suitable for kids that like to play outside, grounding your kids is an widely acceptable form of child discipline. Grounding is the process of not allowing your child to leave the house for a set period of time. This means that if they want to go and play out with their friends, they aren’t allowed. When school time is over, they have to come home straight away.
I won’t go too much into grounding right now, as I have written a complete guide to grounding here. Check it out if you want more information and grounding strategies.
Knowing When To Use These Behaviour Management Strategies
So, when do you use the above tactics? Well, you should be using strategy 1 (Telling them to stop then explaining to them why it’s bad) the first time they misbehave. If they don’t stop after the FIRST time you talk to them, you should then use one of the other punishments such as time out, grounding or taking away privileges.
If they do something that you’ve told them about on more then one occasion before (Whether it was earlier on or last week), give them a punishment straight away. You should not have to tell them the same thing over and over again, and most likely they will be able to tell you what they have done wrong. This will show you that they are aware they have been misbehaving, but done it anyway. If this is the case, calmly put them on time out. Just the fact they recognise they have misbehaved makes it more likely this behaviour will stop in the future. Keep reinforcing it and eventually it should fizzle out.
Behaviour Management Strategies For Children Conclusion
Managing a child’s behaviour isn’t an over night process, but one that can be achieved with some strong and consistent parenting. The ultimate aim is to have your child listen to you, so you can stop them misbehaving simply by using your voice. This can take a while to achieve, but once it happens, you will find your parenting will become a whole lot easier.
We hope you find these behaviour management strategies for kids useful, please share them with any other parent you feel they can help.