Improving Structure to Improve Behaviour
Improve your child’s behaviour by improving structure in your home. Structure and consistency are the foundation of positive parenting. Structure provides your child with clear expectations and parameters in which to function. When a child clearly knows what is expected of them, they are more likely to experience success. Some children require more structure than others. Although all children need structure, children who struggle with self-regulation (such as children impacted by poor impulse control or hyperactivity), anxiety, or challenging behaviours often require an increased level of structure. To improve behaviour in your home, try some of these tips!
- Develop and post a list of family/household rules.
- Build in several consistent anchor points throughout the day, such as “snack time”, “homework time”, “dinner time”. Keep these anchor points at the same time each day.
- Help children to organize themselves by breaking down larger tasks into several smaller tasks. An example of this, is completing homework. Instead of just giving a child the task to “complete homework”, break the task down into exactly what they have to do – “first do these math questions, then read this story”.
- Implement systematic, clear expectations, during periods of transition – such as returning home from school. Expectations, daily may be: hang your coat up, put your lunch bag on the counter, put your agenda on the table, and sit at the table for snack.
- Build regular occurring activities into routines, such as going to the library every Saturday morning, movie night Fridays, or daily bedtime stories.
- Implement a daily “quiet time”, where children complete quiet activities, such as reading or colouring independently. Use this as a daily anchor point.
- Implement daily chore/task expectations. Even the youngest child can help set the table, or help make their bed
- Complete/clean up one activity before moving on to another.
- Provide choices (up to 3), instead of open ended options.
These are just a few suggestions. In implementing structure, think systematically, break tasks down, and organize activities. Use daily routines to support structure. More structure is usually required for times of transition. If it feels chaotic, provide more structure.