Tips for Encouraging Positive Behavior in Children


Educators have a number of important roles to play within a student’s life — from providing encouragement, to teaching them about the world. One of the most challenging things any teacher will have to do is figure out the right ways to encourage positive behavior in their students, and reduce bad behavior.

positive behavior

Though your idea of what counts as “positive” behavior may change according to your cultural background and personal beliefs — the idea should be to encourage behavior that will help your students to function well as a responsible, confident, and productive adult.

Following, we will discuss just some of the tips that you can use to address challenging behavior, and promote beneficial characteristics in your students as they grow and develop throughout their lives.

1. Set Clear Boundaries and Limits

You can’t expect your students to be well-behaved unless you clarify exactly what you expect from them. Lay the groundwork as early as possible by establishing rules that children must follow, and make sure your students understand what you’re asking for. Remember that you may have to go over these rules frequently in order for your students to come to terms with them — and for young children, it may be helpful to use picture diagrams as a learning guide.

In order for the rules to carry weight, breaking them should lead to consequences that are both fair, and logical. For instance, if the children fight over a single toy, take the toy away from both of them. In simple terms, the punishment should fit the crime — but if you can’t think of a logical consequence, the next step may be to remove certain privileges.

2. Treat Children as Individuals — Listen to Them

It may seem obvious, but every child is different, and as such they have specific strengths and weaknesses, dislikes and likes. By identifying the things that are unique about each child early on, you can help to reduce bad behavior through mutual understanding.

Take the time to discuss feelings with your students — how they feel when they are asked to do certain things, and how you feel when you see them acting badly. Discussing issues with children, and listening to their concerns will help to encourage empathy in your students and create understanding.

3. Provide a Positive Role Model

Although there are likely to be different rules in your classroom for yourself, and your students, treating others poorly, showing bad manners, or failing to follow your own simple rules shows inconsistency to students that could confuse them.

Your students will act how you act, so it’s crucial to lead by example in every aspect of life. Show your charges how to treat others with respect by practicing good manners yourself. If you want students to be tidier, make sure that you tidy up after yourself too. The more you show the behaviors you want them to adapt, the more they will consider those behaviors to be natural.

4. Deliver the Appropriate Amount of Attention

Children crave attention, and if good behavior isn’t getting them the spotlight they’re looking for, then they’re likely to misbehave just to get a reaction. On the other hand, if you provide enough positive attention to students in periods when they show you good behavior, then they will be less likely to act out.

5. Cool Down and Convey the Right Message

Finally, if your students are being difficult, cool down before you address them, as screaming and shouting is unlikely to have a good impact. Rather than raising your voice when students misbehaves, outline how they have shown bad behavior, and inform them of the consequences involved with continuing to break the rules.

Try to take advantage of teachable moments whenever possible, and inform students of how their good or bad behavior affects both them, and you. The more you can do to help students understand that your rules are for their own good, the more they will appreciate the guidelines you set.

Positive Behavior Takes Time

Remember, encouraging positive behavior is a long and on-going battle that you’re going to have to work hard at. However, using the previous tips could help you to not only improve your student’s attitude, but maximize your impact as an educator.

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