Strategies For Helping You Correct Your Child's Behavior and Explain the Nature of Consequences
Telling your child off is different from getting him to actually correct his behavior. Distracting your child with an action he’s allowed to do and explaining to him the consequences of bad behavior will help you get results.
Verbal reminders alone are a waste when used on toddlers or preschoolers. The younger the kids are, the less likely your words will be completely understood. So instead of “telling” your 10-month-old child not to pick food with his fingers, hand him a spoon and show him how to use it to scoop his food into his mouth.
Distract Your Child Into Doing Something Achievable In the book Infant and Toddler Development, authors Kay Albrecht and Linda Miller describe this as a distraction technique. “Constant verbal reminders fail because adults expect the child to change his behavior to suit the situation,” they posit. A better strategy, according to the book, is to modify the situation to fit the child, changing the child’s focus from something he dislikes to something that is acceptable and doable for him.
Tell Your Child The Consequences of His Actions The idea here is to let a child experience the natural consequence of his actions without compromising his safety. Educator, Rowena Matti suggests, “Start with simple scenarios like, ‘If you jump on the bed, you might fall and bump your head.’” The natural consequence if the child goes on to jump on the bed, is to take him off the bed and not allow him to go back unless he promises not to jump again.
Distinguishing What A Consequence Is According to Editha Buluran, owner of Kinder Garten’s Learning Center, a consequence can only be effective if it is related, respectful, reasonable, and rewarding. An unrelated consequence can only confuse the child. This strategy helps children take responsibility for their behavior. Matti reiterates the importance of responding firmly and calmly while explaining to the child why you are giving the consequence. Kids will eventually figure out that only the best and appropriate behaviors merit a good outcome.
Sources: • Rowena Matti, program director, Galileo Enrichment Learning Program, Inc. • Editha Buluran, early childhood educator and owner, Kinder Garten’s Learning Center, Malolos, Bulacan • Infant and Toddler Development, by Kay Albrecht and Linda Miller
Photography by Jun Pinzon
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