Sometimes the best tools for managing negative behaviors is knowing the "what" and "why" of those behaviors! Being able to identify your child's triggers, the "what" that causes behaviors, is such an important tool to have! When you can see a tantrum coming, you can intervene before it even occurs! Some strategies for being proactive with your little one's triggers include:
Preparatory Discussions- preparing them for what may lie ahead in your day
Timers- to help indicate transitions throughout activities
Social Scripts- which prepares your little one for the "appropriate" ways to handle situations
Additionally taking some time to determine what your child's motives, or the "why" for each behavior can also be a great proactive strategy. Sometimes the reason for your little one's negative behavior may not be super obvious. However, understanding the "why" will help you determine where to go from there, with your reactive strategies, and in teaching them a new more positive strategy to obtain their needs in the future.
My child is crying, why?
Are they upset, hungry, tired, angry, trying to get your attention etc...
Behavioral Tip 2
Once you have determined the "why" of a negative behavior than you can work to STOP that behavior in an appropriate way. You don't want to end up rewarding your little one's negative behaviors by meeting their "why" with your reaction.
They want your attention, they begin to tantrum. You react and go to their aide, now providing them the attention they were seeking and therefore reinforcing that negative behavior of a tantrum.
Some reactive strategies include:
Time- Outs- should last the length of your child's age, and the timer should be reset whenever they are not following the outlined expectation. The point of a time-out is to allow your child to calm down and regain control of whatever BIG feelings they are having at that moment. That can look many different ways depending on your kiddo, maybe even just some quiet room time.
Loss of Privileges- some important points with this reactive strategy are to be sure that you do not make false threats of this. Create a clear outline of "how" your child can earn back the privilege with realistic and logical expectations & time frames.
When using reactive strategies the best tip is to Be Consistent
The the warnings leading up to a consequence
Provide clear and concise warnings asking the negative behavior to STOP, pairing this with a 1-2-3 can help as well.. This strategy will let your child know "when" a consequence is coming and in the long term help them to make a decision to STOP before you have to place a consequence.
The behaviors that warrant a consequence
Don't waiver on concrete "whats" that result in a consequence.
The expectations of a consequence; length and structure
Practice in a time outside of a consequence so your child understands what is expected of them.
One of the most important parts of changing a negative behavior is taking time to reflect with your little one on the "why" and providing them more appropriate ways of "how" to accomplish and achieve what they need in the future. Once you start to see them demonstrating these more positive behaviors, be sure to PRAISE them for it. This will help to implement the new positive behaviors as the consistent behavior.