How to Help Children Manage Their Own Behavior: 6 Steps
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Teach a child to manage his own behavior so that he sees the results of his actions.

Children are taught from the start to obey their parents, and this works fine in the beginning. But micromanaging your child's behavior can be exhausting, and after a certain age people are going to look at you funny if you're still making all your child's decisions for him. Teaching your little one to manage his own behavior allows him to learn self-control and responsibility, and it also gives you a break. Start early and easy with stickers and rewards.


  1. 1
    Set up a progress chart with his chores or daily tasks. Make it with pictures for the tasks instead of words so that he understands them. For example, for brushing teeth, paste a picture of a child brushing his teeth. Allow him to apply stickers next to the chores each day he does them. As with most children, he will want to earn those stickers and will do many tasks without being asked.
  2. 2
    Add five or so stickers to the chart next to a picture of a child with a smiling face. Tell him those stickers are because he is being a good boy, and that he must take one away if he does something he shouldn't. Watch him as he goes about his day, and if he does something wrong, such as flushing his sister's toy down the toilet, remind him of his stickers and ask him to remove one. He will not want to lose all of his good-boy stickers and will slowly adjust his behavior in order to keep them.
  3. 3
    Offer a reward for good behavior. Let him pick the reward, within reason, and if he does his chores or daily tasks, and doesn't get into too much trouble, he should earn the reward. Follow through with this and don't waver. If he truly doesn't deserve the reward, you can't cave in and give it to him anyway, even if he gives you that sad little look and drops a tear down his cheek. Stay strong and remember -- if there's no consequence for his bad behavior, he will try less.
  4. 4
    Praise him for managing his behavior in good ways. Watch for things that he does right, such as sharing a toy or helping another child with a task. Say something to him like, "Way to go! I saw you share, and I'm proud of you." He will like the feeling that your praise gives him and will want to feel that way more often.
  5. 5
    Add time-out as a tool for teaching him control of temper and attitude. Place him in time-out for a few minutes and then have him remove a sticker from his chart. For example, if he knocked some child in the head with a toy truck, he probably deserves a little more punishment than removing a sticker. A time-out would be helpful in this case.
  6. 6
    Be consistent with your follow-through on rewards and punishments. He will want to know that each time he succeeds for a week, the reward will be given. If you do not, then he won't try as hard. The same goes for consequences. If he thinks he might get away with something, he will try it more often.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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