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social and emotional behaviour

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Social and Emotional Skills


Improving Behaviour

Children respond better to a consistent approach.

Changing behaviour does take some time so remember it takes more than a week to change habits and routines. Children may have become used to behaving in one sort of way to react to certain circumstances. Allow enough time for change to happen and if something doesn’t work the first time it doesn’t mean to say it will never work. This may mean the child is too young for your approach or needs longer in order for it to work. Be aware that any attention is good attention for a child even if they have to be naughty to gain it. Are you praising the child when you see good actions? Point out what they are doing well; any improvements should be specific and praised (e.g. “Well done for hanging your coat up when you came home”).

 Ideas to Help

Use the traffic light system to think about the child’s red, amber and green behaviour.

Make sure you praise the child when they do something right – who would you rather work for, a boss who always criticises, or one who notices your good points?

Give praise that lets the child know exactly what they have done well, and how it makes you feel.

Set clear, fair rules, but give the child choices and freedom within these limits.

Be consistent, and if you have a partner, work together as a team.

If the child breaks a rule when they should know better, give a clear reprimand.  They may need to have an instant consequence.

If the child is irritable, ask yourself if they are bored/ hungry/ tired etc. Make sure there is something more interesting available for them to do.

Try to make sure that you give the child more of your attention when they are behaving well, than when they are misbehaving. You don’t need to change a child’s feelings, but instead try listening, empathising, and naming the feeling.

All feelings can be accepted; it is the actions that need to be tackled, for example, ‘It’s okay to feel angry. It’s not okay to kick the door’.

Comment on the child’s behaviour, but don’t attack their character. Think about how what you say will affect their self-esteem. Give them an opportunity to make amends.

Look after yourself.  A good parent is a happy and confident parent.

Involve the child in the decision-making process, providing them with explanations.

Children need good role models to help them develop.

Children need to have their feelings accepted and respected.

Listen quietly and attentively – don’t always ask questions OR DENY FEELINGS.

Acknowledge feelings with a word – ‘Mmm…Oh…I see…’

You can give feelings a name – ‘That sounds frustrating’.