Behavior Support: Catching Your Child Being Good

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It is important to let your child know when they have behaved well. Giving positive attention for good behavior is a great way to teach a child which behavior you like and help to continue those positive behaviors.

What You Will Need

  • Small rewards, like a favorite snack, TV show, screen time, stickers, a favorite toy.

What to Do

  • At first, try to catch your child being good randomly, or at least one time every 15 minutes.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Speak with excitement.
  • Be specific about the behavior you like. Examples: “I love how you asked for a drink of water,” or “You did a great job picking up all of your toys.”
  • Give attention right after the behavior you liked. Do not give attention right after a behavior you did NOT like. Your child should have positive behavior for at least 30 seconds without the negative behavior before you give them attention.
  • Give the type of attention your child enjoys. If your child does not like kisses, then give a hug or a high five instead.
  • Give positive attention to even small improvements. For example: “That was great throwing your trash away,” or “You did a nice job walking into the store today.”
  • Identify behaviors that cannot occur at the same time. For example, instead of punching their sibling, they could use Play-Doh® or speak quietly instead of screaming or whining.

If you have any questions, ask your child’s health care provider.

Behavior Support: Catching Your Child Being Good (PDF)

HH-IV-188 ©2017, Revised 2021, Nationwide Children’s Hospital