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Parenting: How to guide behaviour

Here are some basic suggestions for guiding your child's behaviour:

  • Express your love and respect for your child each day.

  • Notice your child's good behaviour and her efforts to make things work.

  • Plan ahead to provide a safe play space with interesting and age-appropriate activities.

  • Be predictable by providing a routine, being consistent and following through on consequences.

  • Set up reasonable limits, expectations, and consequences that relate to each of your children's ages and temperaments.

  • Communicate rules, limits and consequences clearly.

  • Gradually teach your child to handle a range of emotions.

  • Redirect, distract or use humour to help your child to calm down.

  • Offer choices and let her learn from consequences.

  • Be a model for good problem-solving, negotiating and understanding of others, as well as the behaviours you want your child to have - teach and lead instead of using force.

  • Be firm but have realistic expectations.

  • Remember, it takes time for children to learn acceptable behaviours.

Adapted from: Landy, Sarah. (2002). Pathways to Competence: A Program to Encourage Healthy Social and Emotional Development in Young Children.

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