Now that so many kids are doing some or all of their learning at home, dealing with behavior during school time can be the most challenging part of the day for parents. With EVERYTHING you have to do, dealing with behavior can feel like the last thing you want to do.
Sometimes what you really need is a few quick, actionable “tricks” to keep things rolling and give you time to do all of the other things you need to get through in a day.
7 Fast and Actionable Steps to Dealing with Behavior Without Losing Your Cool!
The good news is that there are things you can do to deal with behavior in the moment and keep things under control while you are doing all of the other things you need to do just to get through your day!
Step 1: Reinforce the behaviors you want to see at a very high rate
When dealing with disruptive behavior, there is never TOO much reinforcement. As parents we often worry that we are going to “spoil” kids with too much reinforcement but in reality, it is one of the fastest and easiest ways to change behavior in the short term and get things back on track. If it works~use it!
Step 2: Sometimes it is okay to ignore behaviors
As parents, sometimes that is really hard for us. I am here to tell you that sometimes it is okay to ignore behaviors even when you know you need to ultimately deal with them. If it allows you to get through that moment, it is absolutely okay to ignore. I would actually say it is better to ignore the behavior instead of jumping in without a plan!
Step 3: Beware of power struggle
I’m not saying that any of us ever do this. 🙂 I will let you in on a little secret…. We will NEVER win the power struggle. It is sad but true. What we will get though is lost time, frustration, and more overwhelm! Cut your losses, move on and make yourself a note that you will need to get back to that skill or behavior with a plan!
Step 4: Be very clear about what behaviors you expect
So often we expect that our kids know exactly what we want from them and while this is true for some kids, it isn’t true for all of them. Some children need things much more defined and clear. A little time up front clearly letting your kids know what you expect, saves a lot of time dealing with behaviors!
Step 5: Choose one behavior
When deciding which behavior to work on, choose the one that Disrupts your family the most even if it doesn’t seem the “worst”. There is no “right” or “wrong” behavior that is most disruptive to you. For some families, talking back is the most disruptive while for other families, it may be leaving toys and clothes on the floor. Whatever disrupts your family the most, that is the behavior to start with!
Step 6: Keep your expectations reasonable
We can have expectations for our kids, but remember, each child is different. It is important to be reasonable in what we expect from kids. They are where they are and can do what they can do!
Step 7: Be brief when talking to your kids about behavior
The more we talk, the less kids listen. 🙂 You want to make sure the important message is in the beginning and the message is short! This is definitely a place where more is not better.
Remember: Making one small change can make a huge improvement in your day. It won’t fix everything, but even a small improvement can do great things for your family!