Behaviour: Make It Easy for Your Child to Behave Well

  • Make your child's surroundings safe and interesting. Children are active so make your home a safe place to play. It is better to make your home safe for learning and exploring than it is to keep saying "No." If your child gets bored, change the surroundings to keep things interesting. When you go out, take a snack and a toy or book for your child.
  • Create family routines. Children feel more secure when the same things happen in the same order every day. It is easier for children to follow rules when an activity becomes a habit, for example rules about picking up toys. Set up a daily routine so your child gets regular meals and snacks and enough sleep. Include lots of physical activities indoors and outdoors. Your child will fall asleep more easily if you follow the same bedtime routine every night.
  • Praise and encourage your child. Let your child know you notice when he behaves well. Praise and encouragement work best when you tell your child very clearly what you like about what he has done. This will help your child understand what you expect of him.
  • Be a good example. Your child learns almost everything by watching what other people do. Behave in a positive way yourself so your child will know what you expect. If you want your child to be polite, make sure she hears you saying "please" and "thank you."

Key Message:
When you and your child have a strong attachment, she will be more likely to follow your directions.

Fun & Easy Activities

My Day in Pictures

  • Picture charts will help your child learn your family routines. You can make them with your child. For young children, use pictures that show each step. For older ones, you can write the words too. For example, you can put together pictures for the routine of getting dressed in winter.
  • First, list everything your child must wear when it is cold and snowy outside. You will need a picture of each of these items. You can draw those, cut pictures out of newspaper ads or take photos of your own child's clothes. If your child is older she can draw them or cut them out herself.
  • Lay out all the pictures. Then help your child organize them in the right order. Let your child help you glue or tape your pictures onto a big piece of paper. You can put this chart on the wall near where she gets dressed to go out.
  • She can have fun looking at the picture list to find out what to put on next. You can make a chart like this for any routine in your day. It will remind your child of what you expect her to do.

Follow the Leader

  • Young children learn almost everything by watching the people around them and imitating what they do. They will love a game of follow-the-leader. There are many ways to play. You can make an active game by playing outdoors or in a hallway.
  • Your child imitates your actions while you move in different ways. For example, you can march around a tree in the park and swing your arms. Then let your child lead you around the tree. He can move however he likes, while you follow him.
  • You can play the same game more quietly too. Try this when you are on a bus or sitting in a waiting room. You move your hands in a pattern that he imitates. Then he makes up a pattern that you must copy.
  • The game can be very simple with a young child. With a 5 year old, you can make longer patterns. Having fun together is a sure way to build the connections of attachment between you.


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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

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