5 Positive Guidance Strategies for Parents to Use at Home
By Leslie Marley –
Children’s first few years of life consist of a tremendous amount of learning. Many of these learning milestones that take place relate to social-emotional development. Positive guidance is a proactive approach that realizes children need support and encouragement to develop self-discipline. Using positive guidance strategies allows parents and caregivers to encourage constructive choices while encouraging healthy child development.
Learn more about the principles of positive guidance and five simple positive guidance techniques parents can use at home.
Key Principles of Positive Guidance
No parenting approach can be one-size-fits-all. Positive guidance tends to succeed when parents apply its fundamental ideas every day and tailor its techniques to their children’s individual needs. Importantly, positive guidance should not only be done when challenging behavior occurs. It should also be used to acknowledge good behavior.
One essential part of positive guidance is building a strong and loving relationship between yourself and your child. Spending time together on a regular basis is important in cultivating this relationship. Special activities and outings can be fun; however, even simple activities can present opportunities for bonding. Talking to your children about their day during dinner or on the way home from school is a great way to give them the communication and security they need.
It can be hard to stay positive when you yourself are tired or stressed. Emotional and physical self-care is vital in enabling you to communicate positively with your children. Proper rest, exercise, and balanced nutrition can go a long way towards helping you feel capable of taking action when appropriate.
Establishing a loving and supportive atmosphere sets the stage for guidance.
5 Positive Guidance Techniques
The following positive guidance techniques draw their power from the strong and positive relationship between you and your child. Parents can help their children grow and develop through essential techniques that utilize positive guidance practices.
Letting children assume ownership of their behavior helps them learn. When possible, offer specific choices and let them make their own decisions rather than issuing a directive. Children typically respond well when they have opportunities to make age-appropriate choices, which is a great way to foster independence.
Use logical, age-appropriate consequences
Relating children’s behavior to its natural consequences leads to a better understanding of why certain expectations exist. For example, if they color on the walls, crayons will be taken away. Importantly, for this strategy to work, consequences need to be explained before a challenging behavior occurs. Lastly, consequences should be immediate. Children will not be able to recall in the evening that they cannot watch TV because they pushed their siblings that morning.
Understand the behavior
Figuring out what led them to behave in a particular way can help you address it at the root cause. Often, young children act out for reasons such as hunger, boredom, fatigue, or loneliness. When a hungry child picks fights with a sibling, taking a break to have a snack can work far better than explaining the importance of getting along. In other cases, a child may simply lack knowledge or misunderstand something. Taking the time to understand the real reason behind challenging behavior can help guide the way you manage the situation.
Understanding children’s temperament–how they respond in certain situations–will also aid you in how to approach their behavior.
Provide specific guidance
Children typically respond better to specific directions. For instance, ask a child to put his toys on the shelf rather than to straighten up the play area. Additionally, provide instructions rather than asking questions if your child doesn’t have a choice, such as, “Please put your coat on so we can go to the store. We’re going to get what we need to make dinner tonight.” If you ask, “Do you want to go to the store?” you may not get the answer you want to hear.
Additionally, avoid using negative language, such as “Don’t leave your toys out.” Instead, try, “Please put your toys back in the drawer.” You want to use language that encourages the desired behavior rather than focusing on the negative behavior.
Helping children understand the world around them and how their choices affect it is important in guiding them towards making good decisions. Explanations should be clear and appropriate for your child’s developmental stage.
Again, for positive guidance to be effective, it’s important to utilize it for positive actions, not just when misbehavior occurs. Every child is unique and has his or her personality traits and qualities. Positive guidance can be an effective approach because it guides children and helps to nurture those qualities.
Latest posts by Leslie Marley (see all)
- 5 Positive Guidance Strategies for Parents to Use at Home - March 19, 2019
- 7 Parenting Hacks to Create an Easier ‘Morning Rush Hour’ - March 3, 2019
- Why Independent Play is Important for Young Children - December 29, 2018