Out with the "Don't" and in with the "Do":  Redirecting your child

It's a fairly common occurrence as parents or caregivers to redirect your child with "don't do __."  At times, the child complies, moves on and nothing further needs to be said or done.  However, many times it seems as though the "don't" is an invitation for the child to "do" rather than to stop.  The more the parent instructs the child with "don't do" the more the child seems to disregard the caregiver's request.  The next time you find yourself in this situation, try this strategy instead.  Tell the child what it is you want the child to do (i.e., "Sit with your bottom on the couch," "Put your bag in the closet," "Chew with your mouth closed) versus what you don't want the child to do (i.e., "Don't stand on the couch," "Don't leave your bag on the floor," "Don't chew with your mouth open"). 

Children typically love to please their caregivers, so if your child complies, don't forget to heavily praise them.  Be as specific as you can (i.e., "That's better chewing with your mouth closed) versus using general praise statements (i.e., "Good job!") so your child clearly knows what it is you're praising them for.  For an even greater effect, try to praise your child often when she/he is acting in desirable ways (i.e., using manners appropriately, sharing, trying new foods, complying with your instructions, playing quietly while you're on the phone, puts a toy away without being told, etc.). 
 


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