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Tips for Managing Challenging Behaviors

October 20, 2021
Early Childhood, Family Support, Parenting


  • Keep calm, speak flatly, and try your best to hide your own stress from your face and voice.
  • Choose your battles.
  • Give positive reinforcement.
  • Words of encouragement and praise are perfectly good positive reinforcement.
  • Be consistent.
  • Negotiate.
  • Redirect unwanted behavior and replace it with a positive behavior.
  • Clear expectations that are age appropriate are necessary.
  • Be a positive role model.
  • Mean what you say and say what you mean!


  • Raise your voice and show your frustration.
  • Don’t overwhelm your child by nitpicking.
  • Don’t punish your child.
  • Toys and treats are great occasional positive reinforcement, but they become ineffective when overused.
  • Don’t give up too quickly.
  • Don’t use dictator language.
  • Never demand that your child “do nothing.”
  • Avoid complicated directives.
  • Avoid using inappropriate language and behaviors.
  • Don’t bluff or make empty promises.


  • Keep a journal or calendar to log incidents. This can help you look back and see if there are patterns or contributing factors that are setting off unwanted behaviors. It also allows you to visually track whether the unwanted behaviors are decreasing or increasing.
  • Swap information with other parents. Discuss what works and what doesn’t. It’s a great way to learn and teach new techniques.