Negative Words

How many times do you use the word “Don’t”?

Leerlo en espanolChildren’s behavior can be challenging!  Parents must remember that children do not have all the skills and strategies they need to handle demands and conflicts.  Many times parents find themselves telling children what NOT to do instead of what to do. Teaching children how to communicate his/her needs is an important part of parenting.

Tips to Help Children Do the Right Thing

  1. Rephrase your language and avoid negative words like don’t and stop. Simply tell the child what to do instead by using language that focuses on the behavior you want to see. For example, say to the child: “use walking feet” or “stay with me” instead of “don’t run”. Ask your child to “use an inside voice” or “talk so I can understand you” instead of “stop whining” or “don’t yell”.
  2. Give clear and simple directions. State the expectation.
  3. Prepare a child for a transition. Give notice when a child must stop one activity and move to the next.  For example say: “Playtime is almost over then we are going to have dinner together”. Teach the child that a timer or music will be a signal to change an activity and use this method consistently.
  4. Catch the child being good and praise the positive behavior you observe frequently. Everyone appreciates encouragement.
  5. Teach a child to verbally identify the emotion he/she is feeling and the strategies to help deal with the emotion. A child needs to know that asking for help, waiting a short time, trading, taking turns, and sharing can be solutions to a problem.
  6. Be aware of your Be sure to model and demonstrate behaviors you want your children to learn. Look at yourself in the mirror when you are disciplining your child. Check to see if your face and tone of voice are teaching and demonstrating acceptable and appropriate behavior!

Do you want to learn more? Contact the Mid-Hudson Early Childhood Direction Center at 845-565-1162 extension 209.