Positive Behavior Support at Home: 7 Strategies for Parents

Preschool News
mother lifting her kid up

Preschool plays an important part in shaping your child’s character. After all, this stage sets up how your child will act and behave once they enter school. As their first companion, your role as a parent is critical in building these behaviors.

But sometimes, kids can be tough to handle. Fortunately, positive behavior support can help you overcome these challenges.

In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of positive behavior support along with simple ways that you can use it at home.

What is Positive Behavior Support?

Positive behavior support (PBS) is an evidence-based practice that teaches children desirable behaviors. It uses positive methods with three different levels to avoid and stop unwanted actions in children.

This strategy is often used in schools. In fact, over 25,000 schools in the United States apply PBS methods in their classrooms. But parents can also use the basics of PBS in teaching good behavior to their children.

How Does It Work?

This framework equips parents and educators with the right tools and strategies to effectively impart expected behaviors to children. But how does it do so?

For one, it creates a supportive environment that lets children work on their social and emotional skills. Moreover, it also helps cut out bad habits through positive actions that encourage good habits and proper conduct. 

By using positive behavior strategies, your child can develop essential life skills that they can use when they grow up.

What are the Benefits of Positive Behavior Support?

In a school setting, positive behavior support has helped improve grades, increase chances of graduating, and promote better performance at school. It is also shown to help avoid 80-90 percent of unwanted behaviors.

Fortunately, you can also reap its benefits at home. It can help your child:

  • Improve emotional and social skills
  • Become better communicators
  • Develop healthy habits
  • Reduce unwanted behaviors
  • Prepare for social interactions upon entering school

7 Positive Behavior Support Strategies for Parents

Now that we know what positive behavior support is, it’s time to put them into practice! Here are seven age-appropriate strategies that you, as a parent, can use for your toddlers.

Establish Clear Expectations

Begin by listing the traits that you want to see from your child. Then, create three to five house rules for these traits. To help you make the rules, you can use this three-step process:

  • What trait/outcome do you want to see? (ex. Show respect)
  • Where or when is this trait/outcome expected? (ex. Inside the house)
  • What is the desired behavior? (ex. By speaking with your inside voice)

Teach Them How It’s Done

During their preschool years, your child has to learn behaviors the way they do with letters, numbers, and shapes. You can use different ways to teach good behavior, such as:

  • Provide illustrations. You can show them pictures of children helping others.
  • Describe appropriate behaviors. If you want your child to do their best, you need to give them examples. For instance, you can say that they need to focus on their work and stick to it until they finish it.
  • Show how things are done. Sometimes, it’s better to show rather than tell. For example, if you want your child to wash their hands, you need to demonstrate it.

Set a Good Example

Toddlers often learn by copying the actions and words of other people. They often look at how their parents act and repeat what they see. So if you want your child to practice proper behavior, it must start with you.

For example, if you start yelling when you’re angry, your child may do the same. You can avoid this by calming yourself down first and then speaking to them in your normal tone. 

Repetition is Key

The learning process doesn’t stop at teaching desirable behaviors. Your child needs to repeat these actions regularly to help them remember and maintain these behaviors.

Here are some tips that you can use at home:

  • Remind them to do the desired behavior. (ex. You can remind your child to wash their hands before mealtime and after using the bathroom.)
  • Give cues when it’s time for another activity. (ex. “In five minutes, it’s time to brush your teeth.”)

Listed below are a few examples of positive reinforcement methods that you can use:

  • Give genuine praise that points out the desired behavior. If you see your kid clear out their toys after playing, you can say something like, “It’s great to see you putting away your toys!”
  • Take time to figure out what motivates your kids. Observe what makes them light up, whether it’s a hug or a high-five. Or better yet, ask what activities they would enjoy.
  • Offer rewards from time to time. Consider giving your kid treats or toys if they fulfill an expected behavior.

Rephrase Your Words

Kids tend to tune out negative words like “No,” “Don’t,” and “Stop.” In this case, a change in perspective might work in your favor.

Instead of pointing out things they should not do, try shifting their focus on what they should do. Let’s illustrate this point with a few examples:

  • Instead of saying “Don’t leave your plates on the table,” you can reword it with “Place your plates on the sink.”
  • Instead of telling them to “Stop yelling,” consider saying, “Use your inside voice.”

Create Routines (and Stick to Them!)

Children often crave a consistent and predictable rhythm in their daily lives. For this reason, they find comfort in routine activities and regular interactions.

Integrate your house rules into a structured routine using these ways:

  • Organize a daily schedule that includes chores, study time, hygiene, and fun activities.
  • Let your child check the schedule and adjust as needed.
  • Make a schedule poster to show how your child’s day will look.
  • Include weekly family bonding sessions such as movie nights or game nights.

Teach Good Conduct with Positive Behavior Support Strategies

Positive behavior support puts teaching discipline and good behavior in a more positive way. While it may not completely get rid of bad behavior, it still gives a solid base to fall back on. All in all, this strategy offers a safe, consistent, and positive space for your child to grow.

For more toddler parenting tips and strategies, visit the Rayito de Sol blog.

February 2, 2022