Proactive Behaviour Management

At the start of the month, we discussed challenging behaviours. If you missed that post, make sure to check it out here!

This week, we are taking a look at behaviour management strategies. These are proactive strategies that are used before a challenging behaviour occurs. If your kiddo has challenging behaviours, use these strategies often to build positive routines for behaviour management and take back control!



Strategy 1 – Practise and Reinforce the Desired Behaviours

Do not assume that your kid knows what to do. Kids can struggle with transferring skills from one scenario to another. If you know your kid is going to be asked to do something new, practise the skill with them in advance. See if you can turn practising into a game or fun experience.




Strategy 2 – Give Two Choices

When you sense a power struggle on the horizon, try giving your child two options. Start with the most ideal option, and then the less ideal option. Make sure to share the consequences for choosing each option. After, respect your child’s choice and allow the consequences to occur.

For example, “You can eat your supper now, or you can choose not to. If you eat supper, you will feel full and have the energy to play later. If you do not eat supper, you will feel hungry later. What do you choose to do?”

Remember. Giving choices should never be done when the consequences are severe or dangerous.



Strategy 3 – Build a Contract

This is exactly what it sounds like. Create a contract where you and your child both agree to meet specific expectations and goals. Your contract should include specific behaviour descriptions, a limited number of goals, and a reinforcement plan.

Emma will use her words instead of throwing things when she is angry with Mom. When Emma talks out her feelings and follows her mom’s requests to complete chores, Emma gets 15 extra minutes of TV time.”



Strategy 4 – Modelling

Modelling can be done in two ways. You can model the desired behaviour yourself by doing it in front of your child and showing them the steps, or you can reinforce someone else for modeling the desired behaviour.

For example, if my son, Sammy was having a hard time cleaning his room, I might say to my other son, Ethan, “Wow, Ethan you did a great job cleaning your bedroom! Because you cleaned your room, you can have 15 extra minutes of video game time today.”



Strategy 5 – Interest Boosting

Interest boosting is a way to motivate your child during an activity by engaging them in conversation about something that interests them. This will hold their attention longer and make completing the activity a positive social experience.

How did your soccer game go yesterday? Can you tell me about it while we eat dinner?”



Strategy 6 – Remove Distracting Objects

If we cannot get the laundry done when Netflix is playing, how can we expect our kids to get a task done when they are distracted? Plan by putting away objects that may distract your child from completing a task or activity. For example, give toys in the bath only after your child has washed their hair.



Strategy 7 –Reinforce Positive Behaviours

As parents, we want to reinforce positive behaviours. This means that we acknowledge our child’s positive behaviour with praise. Praise can be as simple as verbal encouragement or a high five, a special treat, or extra video game time. Find what is motivating to your child and use it to encourage their desirable behaviours.

Sarah, you did a great job asking for a break when you felt overwhelmed today. I appreciate how you communicated with me!”


When using these strategies, remember that you do not have control over your child’s behaviour. You can only control what you do!

To be the most effective, these techniques should be used consistently, and worked into your child’s routines. Over time, your child will learn to complete desired tasks and activities with fewer distractions and greater motivation.

If you find that these strategies are not enough to support your child and manage their challenging behaviours, you may benefit from parent coaching with a Crossroads parenting specialist! Give us a call to see how we can help at 780-430-7715.