Helping Your Child Learn How To Behave

Children must learn how to behave. They are not born knowing what is expected of them.

Children do not have self-control to act like an adult during preschool years. Asking, begging and whining are common.
Parents and older children are models.
Children behave like children
- because they are curious, exploring and experimenting
- because they don't know what is expected of them
- because they follow the leads of others
- because they get caught up in play
- because they are growing independent
Preparing children for how they should behave is effective. Before going to a store you can say: " Stay with me. I will not be buying you toys or candy today. I expect you to behave." If you are visiting another home, you can prepare the child by saying," Play quietly, No running inside. I know you can follow these rules!!"

Toddlers (1- 3 years)

- independent
- have a hard time sharing
- Act without thinking
- may throw temper tantrum
- try to get own way
- do not have self-control
- favorite word is "no"
- plays beside other children not WITH them
- likes to do things for self
- likes to be helpful and please adults

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

- may be mature one moment and like a baby the next
- is full of energy
- thinks the world revolves around him/her
- learn by asking questions
- has little reasoning ability
- does not relate actions to results

What causes misbehavior ?

- Changes in routine (holidays, visitors, traveling)
- Unclear directions. Use simple words to tell child one thing at a time.
- Unmet physical needs (hunger, sleep, fever)
- Unmet emotional needs - having a bad day, not enough adult attention, anger

How to teach self-control

Childproof home
Prepare child
Have back-up plans
Stick to routine and child's schedule
Hugs, kisses and smiles
Saying you are "proud" or "great job" even for behaving in the car!
Noticing good waiting or that they did not ask for candy in the check-out line!