Building Better Behaviour Through Positive Play

A child’s play can be something of a mystery to parents. What helps? Should I get involved or keep out of the way? What role does play have in my child’s progress and how can I help not hinder? If any of these questions have puzzled you read on.

How to help your child be happy and cooperative is also a matter of trial and error for many parents. When we are busy it is just so easy to carry on while your child is occupied and then jump in when things are going pear shaped.

  • Do you feel that that your child doesn’t listen when you ask them to do something?
  • Does it take ages sometimes to get anything done?
  • Do you feel your attempts to guide your child is taking all the fun out of being a parent?

Let’s explore how positive play can be a great way to connect and also result in a happier more cooperative child.

Guilt Warning: Promise yourself you won’t dwell on past disappointments.

Building better behaviour is a chance for a fresh start. You will discover how the 7 secrets of success are the opposite of what we do instinctively when things go pear shaped. Negativity creates stress and can accelerate conflict. Just the opposite of what we do naturally when things are going well. Your child’s behaviour will turn around when you “act as if” things are great. Start to get things back on track from today.

Building better behaviour through positive play is an approach which will make a huge difference to you and your child. Find out how to

  • Gain your child’s attention without raising your voice
  • Reduce the time spent trying to get things done
  • Know what motivates your child without using sticker charts
  • Have more fun and less fuss when you spend time together

Building better behaviour through positive play gives you 7 powerful parent strategies which will help your child become calmer and more open to your influence. You will learn effective ways to meet your child’s emotional needs and create a positive experience when spend time together which leads to better behaviour. Soon your child will become calmer, and more cooperative.

Seven Ways to be Powerful Parent

1)  Imagine yourself in your child’s shoes:  Find a time when you can fully focus your attention on your child. What are they doing and what must it feel like? Let your child know they have your attention by making a positive comment about what they are doing. What do you remember about your own childhood? Does your child like the same things that you did or are you very different?

2)  Be generous with praise: be specific, comment on what your child is doing. Aim to give praise 5 times more often than requests. This may take time to achieve but does work wonders if you persevere. Praise for effort and engagement rather than achievement so your child feels empowered to be active and curious about the world around them.

3) Have a few clear rules for positive behaviour: Let your child know the boundaries but don’t overload on detail. “Be kind to people”. “Take care of your toys”. Focus on showing your child how to have fun and how to handle frustration. “When you are sad Mummy will help you feel better”.

4) Give positive messages with smiling and relaxed body language: Children read body language very astutely, even before they can talk. Our tension is often read by them as disapproval. Positive body language works like a magnet to catch your child’s attention.

5) Keep your child’s attention by imitating words or actions to signal that you are tuned in to their activity and that you are interested in what they do.

Have you ever tried mirroring? This subtle copying of actions and posture helps people feel on the same wavelength. You may have read about it in magazine articles about dating or getting on better with your boss but it works with children too.

If your child is playing on the floor, sit down too and copy some of their posture or actions. Don’t do too much or it becomes noticeable. People often comment that successful mirroring makes them feel more in tune with the other person.

6) Ask to play: Most children love to have a playmate but young children especially can’t cope if adults take over. Why not ask “What game would you like me to play with you now? Or “what would you like me to do next?” Being available and following the child’s lead and interest is what is important.

7) Ignore minor naughtiness by turning away and becoming neutrally unavailable. This might seem like asking for trouble, but once your child has become more used to you having fun together they will respond differently. Behaviour will stop to regain your attention because being with you makes your child feel good.

 8) Positive touches are signs of closeness that can get lost when you are constantly battling to gain your child’s attention. Building on the warmth and affection between you will further strengthen your relationship. Positive touch releases oxytocin, a calming body chemical which makes us feel great. Cuddles will give you both a buzz, older children may prefer something lighter than a great big hug but the contact is still important. Displays of warmth and affection need to be attuned to your child’s mood and appropriate to their age/stage of development

Getting Started

Take a little time to imagine exactly what things will be like once you have put these 7 steps into practice. Read each of the seven steps again and visualise the best possible outcome for you and your child. It may take time to over ride the panic reaction of jumping in to sort out problems with a “no stop that” but it will soon become second nature to work with your child to encourage positive play.




About hooperj

I am a child psychologist and wellbeing coach and author of What Children Need to be Happy, Confident and Successful: Step by Step Positive Psychology to Help Children Flourish which is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
This entry was posted in Play and Child Development, Positive Parenting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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