Archive for the ‘Habits’ Category

Even good kids might be tempted to steal something that they really want.

When I took my 7-year-old nephew to the store and later learned that he had picked up a cookie and hid it in his pocket, I worried how he had learned this behavior and if it had become a habit. Much to my relief, I learned that petty thievery is normal for kids his age. By kindergarten, most children know it is not appropriate to take things that do not belong to them. However, they still have poor impulse control. Their desire to have something that they really want may be stronger than the little voice in their head telling them that stealing is not the right thing to do. And now that they are surrounded by a classroom full of their peers and seeing what everyone owns, the temptation to make a five-finger discount is even greater. In our upcoming posts, we will give you some strategies to help prevent and deal with stealing. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.


Sticky Fingers

The best way to eliminate an unwanted behavior is to substitute an alternative one in its place. Or in other words the positive opposite of unwanted behavior. Instead of focusing on what you do not want your child to do (“I hate when he talks back!”) consider what it is that you do want him to do. (“When it is time to clean up, I want him to simply do it.”)

One sure way to lead him to a positive habit is with praise. When he is behaving well, first act sincerely excited (“Wow!”). Next, specify exactly what you are loving (“You were mad, but you used your words instead of hitting”). Finally, add something physical (a hug or a high five). Give your child props even for small successes, like letting a younger sibling have a turn with a favorite toy. Every time you reinforce a partial success, you are moving that much closer to you ultimate goal. SeeĀ turn it into a challenge for more ways to improve development.