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Give good attention

It is important to provide attention for appropriate behavior rather than inappropriate behavior. The goal is to increase the positive interactions while reducing the negative ones. Negative interactions such as arguments, reprimands, lectures and criticism lead to power struggles and more inappropriate behavior. Catch them being good, and acknowledge it! Statements such as “You told me you were mad without screaming”, “You took turns with your sister”, “You picked up the toys on your floor” encourage children to continue appropriate behavior.

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Positive verbal feedback

An important part of encouraging children to behave properly is to acknowledge when they do. The key is to tie your praise to the specific behavior that deserves recognition. Instead of saying “you did a great job” try “you did a great job picking up your blocks!” Make sure the feedback you give is accurate, specific and descriptive, and fits your style. By recognizing behaviors you want to see, you give your child more incentive to do them and hopefully reduce the less desirable behaviors that get your attention.

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