How to Promote Good Behavior in Children

August 01, 2021

It’s no news that early childhood educators, parents, and just about any guardian play an important role in the life of a child. They contribute to the development of the child, thus, impacting the future of that child. It is like your superpower is to influence what the child becomes. Well, you cannot exactly determine what the child will grow up to be. Many factors contribute to that. But you can make a huge impact in many areas of that child’s life.

To whom much is given, much is expected. Therefore, wielding this superpower comes with great responsibilities. One of such is to guide the child’s behavior positively. If this isn’t the hardest task on the list, then it sure ranks among the hardest. Most importantly, it is one of the ultimate tasks. Children typically look up to you to guide and teach them. They absorb the things you teach them as well as the things they see people do. This is the right time to guide them to good behavior and here are some tips to help you do just that.

  1. Apply the right lessons at the right time

The first thing you should know is the time to apply a strategy. Children go through different developmental stages at different times in their lives. It is all up to you to know what strategy to apply to a 2-year-old and what strategy to use for a 5-year-old child. Applying the right strategy at the wrong time is futile.

  1. Be clear and firm with rules

Children need to be reminded of what is right and wrong. I mean, that’s why they are kids. Their comprehension and retention capacity are pretty low. More reason to keep your rules clear and firm. No need for mixed messages. Go straight to the point and tell them what to do and what not to do. By so doing, you are explaining the WHY while also telling them how to do it. “Be nice to each other” is a good lesson but not as clear as “help her with _____” or “say sorry for making her cry”. Why? The other options tell them what to do. They clearly show HOW to be nice.

  1. Be their role model

In addition to making clear rules, it is important to understand that kids learn from what you do as much as what you say. This means you have to exhibit good behavior in order to teach children good behavior. If you are lousy with responsibilities and promises, it proves difficult to tell your child to keep to promises and handle responsibilities as they should. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t yield much results here. Children watch how you treat them and others. It is funny to know that they actually copy what you do more than what you say.

  1. Don’t focus on the wrongdoings

You don’t have to wait until your child does something wrong to pay attention. There are many other little things they get right. Seize the opportunity to applaud them. While at it, be sure to clearly state what they did right. This strategy shows them what to do and how you feel when they do those things. It works like magic!

  1. Show them you care by listening

I know I have said many times that it is your duty to guide and direct them. But I hope you are not mistaking that for dictatorship. You cannot promote good behavior in children by being a dictator. In fact, the way you treat the child tells a lot about how s/he treats others. You can be a disciplinarian without being a dictator. Listen to your children. Show them you care. Communicate with [not at] them.

  1. Teach conflict resolution

Children get into fights more than adults. Hence, I try to teach them conflict resolution from a very young age. Whether it is frustration over their stuck toy or legos that keep falling or worse, a fight with another child, it is important to teach the child how to resolve these situations without yelling or destroying things. It might not seem as much right now but you are growing the child’s problem-solving skills while also promoting good behavior.

  1. Teach empathy with feelings

Do you want your child to be empathetic? You first! A dictator cannot teach empathy. A child who doesn’t feel heard won’t care about what others are feeling. A child who never gets to hear you apologize may never understand the need to apologize. See where I am going with this? As firm as you want to be, ensure you don’t push your child away. Show them you are human. Help them understand feelings and empathy through your feelings. Let them know how you feel and teach them what to do when people feel that way.


I have rounded up seven strategies to help you promote good behavior in children. I am sure there are a lot more tips to use, however, these are the common tips to help you get started. Remember, you are the superhero hero. These kids are counting on you. We are all counting on you. Give it your best shot!

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