Discipline Tricks That Can Lead to Big Behavior Changes

These little discipline tricks will encourage your children to behave.
John Lund / Tom Penpark / Blend Images / Getty Images

Improving a child’s behavior doesn’t necessarily require a completely new discipline strategy. Sometimes a few small changes – that only take a few minutes each day – can make a big difference.

When used in conjunction with other positive discipline strategies, these five little tricks can help reduce your child's behavior problems fast.

1. Play With Your Child Daily

Most people don’t think about play as a discipline tool.

But, playing with your child can be one of the best ways to prevent behavior problems. Positive attention reduces a lot attention-seeking behavior.

Give your child 10 to 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day. For those few minutes, be willing to play whatever game or with whatever toys your child chooses.

Avoid asking too many questions during your play time–you don't want it become like work for your child. And don’t worry about making the activity about learning. Instead, focus on having fun.

2. Say Yes Often

When kids hear “no” all the time, they become frustrated about all the things they aren’t allowed to do. So before you say, “No you can’t fingerpaint,” or “No we can’t go outside,” ask yourself why you’re saying no. Make sure you're not simply saying no as a habit.

Saying yes to plenty of things will remind your child of all the things he’s allowed to do. When kids have freedom to explore new opportunities and try new things, they’re less likely to satisfy their creative needs by getting into trouble.

3. Keep Your Child Active

Bored kids will find a way to entertain themselves. And often, that means by annoying a sibling or interrupting your adult conversations. Prevent misbehavior by keeping your child mentally and physically active.

Build time into the schedule every day to help your child stay active.

He'll be better equipped to pay attention and manage his behavior when he's had opportunities to run around. Craft projects, nature hikes, and sports activities are excellent ways to keep your child stimulated.

4. Practice Good Behavior

Look for small teachable moments throughout the day and help your child practice good behavior. Instead of simply sending your child to time-out or taking away a privilege, teach your child the correct behavior. 

Say, “Instead of grabbing that book out of my hands, ask for it nicely by saying, ‘Can I please have that book?’” Then, provide your child with a chance to practice the correct behavior. Role playing can often be a great way for your child to practice his new skills.

5. Say Good Things About Your Child to Other People

Although it’s important to praise your child face-to-face, hearing you say good things about him to others can provide powerful reinforcement. For example, while talking to Grandma on the phone, say,  "As soon as he came home from school today, he chose to sit right down and begin working on his homework. I'm so proud of him for making a good choice.”

Kids love to know their loved ones appreciate their hard work. Hearing you brag to friends and family about his good behavior will encourage him to keep up the good work.

You may find he even starts asking things like, "Can you tell Grandma I did a good job today?"

Continue Reading