How often do you feel frustrated with your child’s behavior throughout the day? How many times do you want to scream and shout, “Why can’t they just listen!?” (or clean up their toys, do their school work with out fussing, stop whining, stop fighting, and I could go on!)
I get it! I’ve been there and have days like this! One thing I’ve learned, that I want to share with you, is that…
It doesn’t have to be this way!!!
You do not have to accept your child’s behavior for what it is. Stop making excuses for your their bad behavior! You can expect better from them! As parents we have the authority to correct, discipline, and teach our kids good behavior! Your kids can learn to listen, obey, and change their bad behavior. I believe that almost all parents want to teach their kids how to behave properly and see them become honest, respectful, hard-working, trustworthy, and well-adjusted adults. Also, we simply want to enjoy fun, pleasant, peaceful days with out kids! Right?
The question is… HOW?
How can you get your children to listen to you the first time? What do you do to stop the whining, fussing, fighting, etc. I know some days it feels like it is impossible! That you may feel like a failure! But you know what? You’re not!
It is never too late to change your routines and teach your kids to behave differently! As a special education teacher I worked with many kids that many others wanted to give up on. However, after consistently carrying out a few simple steps we saw huge improvements! Now I’m a homeschool mom, and I still use the steps in our home. It has helped ensure that I am teaching my children good behaviors to help them be successful in life. Also, it helps us have more peaceful days than chaotic ones!
If you are having problems and frustrated with your child’s behavior keep reading! It may seem like a big hurdle to jump, but these steps will help guide you to change your child’s behavior for the better!
5 Steps to Improving Your Child’s Behavior
1. Find the Problem
The first step to solving a problem is always identifying exactly what the problem is! When teaching, I did often did official observations and documented a students behavior over a period of time, to help teachers figure out exactly what the problem was. As a parent, you need to figure out what is it that your kid/s are doing that is driving you nuts! Talk it out with your spouse! What exactly is that frustrates you throughout the day? Are your kids listening and obeying the first time, all the time?
You may come up with a lot of little problems! If there are a lot of problems pick a few! (It is best to target 1-3 problem behaviors at a time!) And often much of the behavior is related to one main problem. (for example, many behaviors relate to “disobedience”) For instance, you get really frustrated throughout the day because your child fusses and whines (mini temper tantrums) every time you tell them do something that they don’t want to do. (i.e. schoolwork, clean up toys, stop playing a game, etc.) So, you decide the problem behavior that you want to stop is Fussing and Whining instead of obeying.
Take some time and think about what you want to see! What does your “dream normal day” with your child look like? This is basically identifying what the good behaviors that you want to see are. These are the behaviors we should expect from our kids. Let’s take our example from earlier, and say you have been experiencing a child who whines and fussing almost every time you ask them to do something. Then you probably dream of days that your child says, “Yes ma’am” or “Yes Momma” when you tell them to clean up their toys or come do school work, and then does what you ask immediately. Well, that dream should be your goal for your kids. It should be the behavior you expect of them!
OK, so now that you have decided what the problem behavior is and what behavior you want to see in it’s place it’s time to make a plan! This is your biggest step!! When I was a special education teacher I used a simple format for almost all my students when we needed to work on behavior. When it was done right and consistently, we saw improvement in the child’s behavior every time! As a parent I realized the same type of plan could work at home. It involves a few simple things:
- Clear consequence for displaying the bad behavior
- Clear rewards for displaying the good behavior
- A visual or clear way for the child and you to keep track of their behavior
You can easily set up your own plan and system to help change your kids behavior. Below, I will tell you about a Plan I’ve used as a parent and teacher that works!
An Easy Behavior Plan that Works!
I created a simple reusable Behavior Plan that I have used over and over again when I was teaching and now as parent. It helps you create a plan to change your kids behavior based on these simple things I have listed above. It gives you and you child visual reminders of their rewards and consequences for their behavior each day. All that you have to do is choose rewards and consequences that mean something to your child! So in our example of a child that is whining and fussing when asked to do something, you simply write in whining and fussing on their bad behavior chart. Then put Listen and Obey with a good attitude on the Good Behavior chart.
Choose rewards for your children for their good behavior that they respond to! We have used rewards in different ways. Often, our kids need the immediate attention when we catch them doing the right things.
As my kids get older, I, often reward them at the end of a day for a day without X’s. A lot depends on the age of your kid as to how often you need to reward them. I usually start with rewarding as much as possible and then slowly change to daily, weekly, or as needed. My youngest loves getting a sticker on his chart for doing his schoolwork with a good attitude! However, he really loves if he fills up a row and gets a bigger prize at the end of a week! For him right now its from a prize box. Something tangible. However, my older kids love to earn extra video game/screen time!
Choose Consequences that your kids really don’t want to see happen! The consequences need to be negative. Decide what will happen every time you see the bad behavior. When your child whines, mark and X on the Bad behavior chart. You can also do things like a small time out or other simple punishment each time they get an X. We use the simple 3 strikes your out system as soon as our kids can understand it.
For example: The child fusses and whines when you tell them it’s time for school. You say no, that’s your first x. Immediately go and put the x on their chart where they can see it. (also, do whatever else you decided happens when they get an X) They whine again when you tell them to clean up some toys later. Give them a second X. They whine again when you tell them it’s time to turn off the TV. That’s X number 3! It’s time for a bigger consequence. Those can be anything that works for your kids that you think is fair. Losing TV/Video game privileges, Time Outs, Writing sentences, Extra Chores, etc. Honestly, whatever is going to help your kids remember that they don’t want it to happen again!
I know that was a ton of info right there! The main thing is make a plan! If you want to use my “Visual Behavior Chart System” you can check it out now! It is available on my shop page here on entirely at Home and on my store at Teacherspayteachers.com.
After you make a plan you need to talk about the plan! Take time to talk with your kids and make sure they understand the difference between their good and bad behaviors! Give them examples, be silly and help them see exactly what they are doing when they fuss and whine. Explain to them what will happen when you see their bad behavior and their good behavior! Demonstrate each step with younger kids! If you’re kids don’t understand what is happening it won’t work.
Also, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page with the plan. Talk and agree to both follow each part of the plan to change your kids behavior! For instance, if Mommy doesn’t give out X’s as easily as Daddy, then the plan will fail. They may start behaving better when Daddy’s watching but that is it! Take the time to talk about your kids behavior together! Make sure you have the same goal for your kids and your household and that you are going to carry out the plan together.
5. Do it!
I know, this last step seems like a given. But it is the most important! Whatever you planned, whatever you talked with your kids about and told them you were going to do, you must actually DO IT! They need to know that you will do what you say. One important thing I’ve learned in my years of education experience and as a parent, is that no plan will work if you don’t carry it out consistently.
If you planned, and told your kids that they would get an X every time they whined and fussed, then that’s exactly what you need to do! If you tell them you will reward them for listening and obeying the first time with a good attitude, then you better not forget to reward them. Make sure you actually take away TV time, if you told them that you would if they get 3 X’s.
So Keep Going!
You can do this! I promise! You do not have to live in a state of chaos and frustration in your home. Take action. Follow each of these steps and you will see change in your child’s behavior! Act in the authority that you have as their parents. I can’t promise that you will see miracle change in a day. However, if we consistently provide discipline for our kids you will see an improvement in their behavior! There will be hard days, but you will come out the victor as long as you keep at it! And there will come a day that your kids will be glad you have taught them to have a good attitude, to listen to authority, be respectful, and responsible!
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