teaching children to control their own behavior

Teaching Children to Control their own Behavior

Teaching children to control their own behavior starts from the beginning. Hopefully this means at a young age, but it could also mean at the start of your relationship with them.

I was recently reminded of a professional we once had in our house that liked to play a game with my son in an area next a desk. I am pretty laid back, so the situation itself did not bother me. It was rather an outcome of the situation that kept tripping me up. My son, barely older than a toddler at the time, would run into the desk and get very upset. For some reason, the other adult thought it was OK to teach my son to blame the desk for what happened. I do not suggest this as something to start teaching kids at a young age. As I told my son, if you run into something that is on you. Plan better next time. Owning their own bodies and behaviors is very important. It is easier to teach this at a young age but can be taught at any age.

This is were ‘teaching-time outs,’ clear boundaries, and consistency really pull through. Partnering with children so that they learn the skills of critical thinking toward safety and life-skills help them when they are out in the real world.

Here are some ideas to get started on teaching children to control their own behavior:

  • Rules – Are there clear rules in place? Try to have the child or children help you come up with some to help their brains become critical thinkers of what good behavior should look like.
  • Simplify – If their is something in the environment that will not allow the child to be successful, and it can be gotten rid of, do it. Make this as easy (not as painless) as possible on both of you.
  • Address Needs – This kind of goes with simplify but happens too often. A kid is slow because his fine motor is delayed. A kid isn’t reciting the song with everyone else because he can’t memorize the words. Remember no one wants to be humiliated. Kindness toward all counts.
  • Keep It Positive – No I’m not saying brush over the knitty-gritty. Keeping things facts oriented though and not opinion oriented, helps the child see the cut and dry of it. So acknowledge when they get things right, and help steer them back on the path when they are starting to veer in their behavior.
  • Follow-through – Accountability is key in so many aspects of life and behavior is no exception. Find a way that works for you to stay consistent about staying consistent.

There is of course more to it, but if you start with this you’ll be well on your way.

Articles Related to ‘Teaching Children to Control their own Behavior’

Behavior and Cognitive Interventions: Finding the Best Solution

Adaptive Behavior and Behavior Scales: Truly Defining a Child

Disciplining a Child: Teaching Positive Behaviors


Motivating My Kid: Where to Start

You might be stuck wondering how do I start motivating my kid, so far they seem content just barely getting by which leaves the parent picking up all the pieces. Obviously this does not work in the long haul, as the goal is to get them to self-sufficient adulthood.

Here are some ideas to start motivating your kid:

  • Start with one thing and make them accountable. Probably something that you think they could be efficient at like feeding the dog, sorting laundry, or simple self-care items.You have to start somewhere and then when that just becomes daily living add another item.
  • Remember we all have to start somewhere. Patience is key. No they aren’t the best at ‘x,y,z’ but at one point probably neither were you. Let them practice and master the skill.
  • Let your kid have some of the control in decisions. Yes you can pick the decision, but making decisions is part of adulthood. Sometimes it feels like the main part. Learning how to make good decisions early is an invaluable skill.
  • Explain the natural consequences of not fulfilling their childhood duties but don’t stand in the way of letting the consequence happen. We all want to bubble wrap kids, but the younger they are the littler the stakes are, so let them find the natural boundaries of things.
  • Make sure there isn’t something standing in the way of the goal. If your child is an unmotivated writer for example, maybe there is an underlying cause and a tutor or doctor might need to evaluate the child. If they’re unmotivated to school, is it too hard or too easy (this applies both academically and socially).

By helping your child feel in control and able to successfully complete tasks, you are empowering them to practice lifelong skills. We know

“when we experience a healthy sense of control, our prefrontal cortex (the executive functioning part of our brain) regulates the amygdala (a part of the brain’s threat detection system that initiates the fight or flight response). When the prefrontal cortex is in charge, we are in our right minds. We feel in control and not anxious.”

-Scientific American

Hopefully these ideas with motivation and great follow through help your child to succeed. Sometimes it can just be hard to break bad habits for both the kid and the parent. Please let me know if you have any great ideas.

Articles Related to “Motivating My Kid: Where to Start”

Successful Collaboration

Helping those with Learning Disabilities Find Success

Qualifying for Special Education: What to Know

Student Reading: Finding Success and Enjoyment in Literature

Student reading seems to either go great or be a challenge. If your students or child seem to be struggling, here are some ideas that might help them to succeed.

  1. Find something the child is really interested in. Many times certain age groups and classrooms are into similar stuff, like Minecraft, Legos, Disney. Find what the children are interested in and teach using that. With this in mind, remember that not all children in the classroom are the same, so if one child is truly struggling, ask them their interests. Look at who is on their backpack or shirt if they are having a hard time coming up with ideas.
  2. Choose material slightly below their level. Although a challenge can be fun, it can also be exhausting. If the child has to stop too often because the words are not in their vocabulary or if they can barely read the words at all, the idea of reading is going to become a task.
  3. Do not over test. Tests can be stressful, and you do not want the child to associate reading with stress. It’s a daily skill that they are going to need to have, so making it stressful is less than ideal. Yes assessments are necessary to see progress, but don’t make every book about that or the student is likely to shy away from letting their imaginations dive into the book.
  4. Set goals. Clear objectives not only define where you are at, they also motivate you and reward you when you accomplish great things. Let the child enjoy their success by pre-defining a student reading goal.
  5. Make Reading Fun. Make student reading enjoyable, add variety, and truly enjoy it. Reading is full of many different parts (like phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, retell, and more) each with its own challenges. Embrace the struggles and persist on understanding the books. If you are having fun, it is more likely so is the student. Games are also great like making silly sentences or playing a game and simply understanding what the cards say.

Hope these ideas help. Feel free to share some of your own ideas.

Articles Related to ‘Student Reading: Finding Success and Enjoyment In Literature’

Get Child to Read: An Early Start

Book Facts: Reading is a Gateway to so Much More

Reading Comprehension: Helping Kids Succeed

Reading Books with Kids: Phonological Awareness

Get Child to Read: An Early Start

How do you get a child to read and why is it important? Early speech is correlated with better math and reading, as well as, less behavioral problems. Research also shows that early literacy is correlate with better school and overall career success. But how do you get kids to talk, and how do you get kids to read?

Opportunity is key. Having resources like books of the right age range is so critical. It doesn’t take a lot of money, only a library card. Our local libraries also offer a kids time. This is a time where songs and other brain engaging activities are going on. If your libraries don’t offer this, check other resources like Barnes and Noble. Puzzles, paints, play dough, shape sorters, and other engaging problem solving toys also allow your children to explore the world around them. These skills can be helpful for both math and reading.  

Ask your kids questions. At an age that would of seemed silly to most, I would turn to my child at the dinner table and say, ‘tell Daddy about your day.’ Then I would eventually say that’s right and fill in the blanks, but it’s important to let your kids know they are important. It is also important that they learn to question things. It is a skill that is necessary for reading comprehension. Starting with the real world and simple board books is a great place to begin.

Listen to their interest. It is so hard to read a book even as an adult when you are simply not into it. the same holds true when you are a child. Think about what the child likes. Let them pick a book, and help them pick a book (or ask a librarian for help) about something that would truly help the child fall in love with reading.

Imagination is the key to building beautiful stories in your mind. Imagination starts by simply playing dress up or store or any of the number of things kids love to play. So while the kids look like they are doing nothing but being silly, they are preparing themselves for a great adventure ahead. Appreciate that.

Here’s a youtube video I found all about the importance of early reading


Articles related to ‘Get Child to Read: An Early Start’

Teaching Phonics: Helping Kids Read

27 Great Picture Books: What to Read with Your Kids

Book Facts: Reading is a Gateway to so Much More

Reading Comprehension: Helping Kids Succeed


ADHD What You Need to Know

ADHD, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter occurs in about 3-7% of school aged children. It effects their ability to progress social, occupational, or academically. It also must be present before the age of 7 and occur in at least to different settings. Although the name suggests inattention, many children with ADHD have long attention spans toward activities they find interesting.

What is ADHD

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is more commonly  diagnosed in males than females. 30-50% of those diagnosed continue to have issues into adulthood. Common symptoms include:

  • Struggles to follow directions
  • Easily distracted
  • Seems to not be listening
  • Daydreaming
  • Problems processing information quickly and accurately
  • Problems maintaining focus
  • Becomes bored easily
  • Troubles completing and/or turning in assignments

May also include: Fidgeting, talking nonstop, impulsive, not able to sit still, difficulty doing quiet tasks, not able to wait turn, emotional, touching and playing with everything in sight

ADHD symptoms

The cause of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Distorter is unknown. It is believed to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Many of the genes effected seem to be connected to the dopamine neurotransmitters. Environmental factors can include alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, lead and insecticide exposure, premature and/or low birth weight and brain injury.

ADHD what to know

If these symptoms sound like your child, talk to your pediatrician. Medication and therapy can be used as treatment.

Articles related to ‘ADHD What You Need to Know’

ADHD in the Classroom

ADHD: Fact, Fiction, and What Can Help

ADHD and ADD: How to Help a Child Effected

Neurological Differences: The Strength and Weakness