Managing behaviour in public
Ideas for Managing Behaviour While Playing in the Community
- Time out – immediate consequence for behaviour such as non-compliance to rules, escalating crisis behaviour, and escalating hyperactivity. Does not need to be framed as a “TIME OUT”. Can be framed as “come sit with me on the bench”.
- 3 strike program – 3 strikes and the outing is over. Make very clear before initiating play what behaviours will constitute a strike. Can be used in combination with time outs for most success.
- Blanket program/ Earn trust program – Child earns trust and playtime by demonstrating desired behaviour playing independently with an adult or in close proximity to an adult These can be quiet activities that can be done on a blanket (blocks, bubbles, colouring). This strategy can be used as a proactive approach to manage a necessary outing where the child struggled behaviourally before hand, or in response to ongoing negative behaviour while out.
- Positive re-enforcement for positive behaviour – Praise, candy, additional play time, special privileges (i.e. use of a special toy).
Things to Remember
- Review the rules/ expectations and consequences before every outing and throughout the outing as necessary.
- Supervision is key. Look and listen actively, and be prepared to assist with conflict resolution and problem solving.
- Negative behaviour can thrive with an audience, have a location in mind where you can manage escalating behaviour with no to minimal audience (i.e. car, area out of sight of peers)
- Be predictable. Don’t change the way you manage behaviour just because you’re in public. If the behaviour is not okay at home, it’s not okay at the park. If the behaviour would result in a time out at home, it should result in a time out at the park. Children may try to resist more in public, this is where removing the audience, or ending the outing can be helpful. Deal with the behaviour immediately. Putting it off until you get home can send the message that you can’t or won’t deal with behaviour in public. This may allow your child to feel that they can misbehave in public with no repercussions. Delayed consequences are also less effective in teaching positive behaviour.