Early childhood is a very crucial time for human beings. This is the time when habits, personality and behavior start getting molded. What we learn in the first 3 or 4 years of our life stays with us right into adulthood. As a parent it is solely your responsibility to make sure that your child imbibes the right values during this period.
His/her behavior will affect all social and professional relationships for the rest of his/her life. Behavior management does not automatically translate into a strict and regimented upbringing. It involves all aspects of development of a child’s personality. You have to make sure your child grows up to be a smart, confident, polite and compassionate human being. And once these traits are formed in your child, no one or nothing can take them away from him/her.
Here are some simple and basic strategies that you can employ to help shape your child’s behavior and personality.
Basic Behavior Management Strategies for Early Childhood
Praise and Reward
This is a key tool to help encourage a child to do better. When a child sees that his/her good deeds result in a positive response from you and other people, he/she will be encouraged to repeat the same thing next time as well. Praise is also an excellent memory tool because the child will always remember that appropriate behavior will get him praise.
Specify rewards for certain things that he/she can earn. Tell your child that memorizing the number series or the first 10 alphabets can get him/her any dessert of his/her choice. Always compliment behavior like cleaning the toy room or sharing candy with a sibling or a friend.
Ignore Certain Behavior
It is very essential to maintain the sanctity of punishment or scolding. Do not yell and shout at every small instance of bad behavior. This just makes a child stubborn and more disobedient. If he/she has done something that is vaguely inappropriate but does not really harm anyone or anything, ignore it.
This will teach your child that his/her actions are so insignificant that you won’t even pay any attention to them. When you scold him/her all the time, the value and impact of the punishment is lost gradually and your child will just learn to ignore your advice.
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Teach that Each Action Has a Reaction
This is very important for a child to learn about making the right decisions. Do not stop him/her each time he/she is about to do something that might be vaguely harmful. Your child needs to know that every time he/she does something, there will be a consequence.
This could be something like climbing the table and then slipping and falling or touching the stove and getting burnt. Just ensure that you around at all times when he/she is experimenting with these things. Always repeat what he/she did and the result of the action after the deed has been done. Say “you touched a hot stove and your hand got hurt”.
Punishments are important but they do not always have to be harsh. Make sure you do not punish every instance of bad behavior. But a child must be punished for an inexcusable act that he/she has already been warned about. You can withdraw TV watching privileges if he/she does not finish dinner completely. This will tell the child that watching TV is a privilege that must be earned through good behavior.
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