Managing children’s behaviour

strategies for kids

Here are some strategies for managing children’s behaviours:

    • Use rapid reinforcement. Be vigilant and catch negative behaviour and noncompliance before it gets worse. Vigilance will prevent snowballing and help identify triggers.
    • Use reward systems, and adapt them to increase their effectiveness. Tangible consequences may be more effective than praise for some children. Use charts that let the child accumulate starts, points or check-marks for good behaviour, which can be exchanged for special activities (e.g. computer time). At times, taking away privileges may be necessary.
    • Deepen your awareness of individual children’s patterns to make outbursts more manageable and less stressful for everyone. Pay attention to triggers, cues, and contexts that precipitate and increase negative behaviours.
    • Stay calm, patient and reassuring. Adult reactions play a key role in child behaviours.
    • Watch for regression, and try to figure out why it might be happening. Have there been changes to home, schedule or the parents that might be affecting the child’s level of stress?
    • Practice and role-play positive behaviour learned in the hospital. The first 3 months after discharge are critical, and children may easily fall back into old patterns, or they may be testing the school environment for reassurance that it can provide the necessary limits. For example
    • Boundaries are critical. Children with mental health challenges typically require a very structured environment. With firm boundaries, these children are generally able to feel more in control.