For Social and Emotional Development

"Tip 148: January 2021 - Social/Emotional: Behavior Management "
   January, 2021

Tip 148: January 2021 – Social/Emotional: Behavior Management

Website Educational Tips for Social/Emotional Development

This tip will review behavior management techniques that can be used with
young children. Good discipline is not punishment or just enforcing rules.
It is caring enough about children to create an environment of respect
where limits are set for their protection. Adults will be given management
techniques to help lead young children to self-control.


All infants want attention and are particularly adept at raising the
conflict level until an adult comes and intervenes. Research shows that at
least twenty minutes of attention per day dramatically reduces whining and
aggressive behavior. To be effective, the special time should be regular,
and one-to-one, with an activity chosen by the child. Cooperation can be
encouraged by giving attention when children act pleasantly.

Positive Feedback:

When providing positive feedback, tell children in positive terms what to
do. Behaviors should be directed in ways that encourage a child’s
social/emotional development and strengthen self-esteem. The following are
four criteria to determine if directions are constructive.

1. Is the statement positive? Tells the child what to do not what not to do

2. Does the statement focus on the behavior rather than on the child’s

3. Does the statement tell the child how to succeed rather than how to

4. Does the statement expect the child to succeed in the future rather than
to fail?

Behavior Management Techniques:

Recent research shows that the more alternative behaviors children can
think of the more likely they can display socially acceptable behavior. The
following techniques can help to increase children’s awareness of
alternatives and possible outcomes of their positive behaviors.

1. Ignoring Misbehaviors: This is most effective when undesirable
behavior is ignored and attention is given only for appropriate behavior. It includes calm body
language as well as not speaking or looking. Such as ignoring Temper Tantrums.

2. Restructuring the Environment: This can be done by removing toys,
if they are being fought over, adding toys that are highly desired, or changing the way
things are arranged. (Don’t change too often infants and toddlers like a stable

3. Offering Choices: This approach can help introduce children to a
variety of social skills. Offer only choices you are willing to have the children choose. “Do
you want to zip your coat or do you want me to do it.” This increases children’s
decision making ability and their sense of control.

4. Encouraging Negotiation: Adults can encourage negotiation between
children by asking them to identify their problems, to think of alternatives, to
predict the consequences and to make decisions.


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