A Tip from the PBIS Tier Two Team
If we give children the opportunity to learn how to behave without requiring adult intervention, we set them up to practice resilience, independence, and self-confidence. Parents can pre-teach problem solving strategies, then help children self-regulate and calm themselves down, for example by taking a deep breath or walking away. When an adult is present, children naturally rely on the adult to manage behavior. Whenever possible, have children work out differences themselves with guidance from adults only as needed. A simple question like “what do you think would help this situation?” gives the child the ownership to find a resolution.
Teaching your child self-control will have a lasting positive impact on their lives into adulthood. Set consistent consequences for behaviors that demonstrate a lack of self-control. For example, if your child takes a sibling’s toy when the sibling is playing with it, your child needs to return the toy. Talk about how the sibling felt when the toy was taken. This helps your child connect how their action made someone else feel. Teach your child how to ask for the toy by modeling the words they should use and having them repeat it. If this is repeated behavior, your child may then need to have a timeout. Timeouts should not be more than one minute for each year of your child’s age. For example, if your child is 5 years old, your child would have a five minute timeout. Following the time-out, remind your child of what they need to do the next time they want a toy. These are just a few examples of how to teach and support your child to develop self-control as they grow.