Behavioral Support: Catching Your Child Being Good

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

What you will need

  • Small rewards, like a favorite snack, TV show, or a favorite toy or electronic device

    What to do

  • At first, try to catch your child being good at least once every 5 minutes.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Speak with excitement.
  • Be specific about the behavior that you liked.

    - 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 that you liked. Do not give attention right after a behavior that you did NOT like. Your child should have positive behavior for at least 30 seconds, without the negative behavior, before you give him or her attention.
  • Give the type of attention that your child enjoys. If your child does not like kisses, then give a hug, high five, or tickles instead.
  • Give positive attention for even small improvements.

    - Examples: “That was great throwing your trash away” or “You did a nice job walking into the store today.”

  • Identify behaviors that cannot happen at the same time.

- Examples: Playing with Play-Doh instead of pinching brother or sister OR asking questions in a whisper instead of screaming or whining all the time.

Behavior Support: Catching Your Child Being Good

HH-IV-188 10/17 Copyright 2017, Nationwide Children’s Hospital