ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Family and Parenting»
  • Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice»
  • Parenting Advice & Tips

Instill Positive Behavior in Children

Updated on October 17, 2013
denise.w.anderson profile image

Denise speaks from her own experience. She has had many trials and difficulties in her own life and seeks to help others through theirs.

Characteristics of Children and How to Turn Them into Positive Behavior

Children, ages 3-7 years old, love to learn. Now is the time to help them develop a well rounded knowledge of the world. Because they do not know the difference between real and imaginary, The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny are very real to them. Everything we tell them is real. Their faith is simple and powerful, and they readily trust adults. Now is the time to acquaint them with the life of Jesus Christ, scriptural stories, and moral lessons.

Children have a natural curiosity and ask many questions. They want to know how the world works and why things are the way they are. When they ask questions, answer with a question. Following are examples:

  • Question: Why do the clouds move? Answer: Why do you think they move?.
  • Question: Where do babies come from? Answer: Where do you think they come from?
  • Question: Why does that man have a beard? Answer: Why do you think that man has a beard?
  • Question: Why do cats purr? Answer: Why do you think cats purr?
  • Question: Why does the sun go down? Answer: Why do you think the sun goes down?

Teach Life Skills that Lead to a Success

Teach life skills through example, verbal direction, and discussion. Opportunities will happen daily. With every problem encountered, there is a life skill to be taught. Below are some examples:

  • Problem: making a mess. Skill to teach: cleaning up afterwards.
  • Problem: hunger. Skill to teach: fixing simple snacks.
  • Problem: schoolwork. Skill to teach: asking questions to get help.
  • Problem: bullying. Skill to teach: respecting other people's feelings.
  • Problem: fear of the dark. Skill to teach: praying for safety and protection.
  • Problem: wanting to buy something. Skill to teach: earning money.
  • Problem: anger. Skill to teach: how to be kind to others.
  • Problem: jealosy of others things. Skill to teach: sharing.
  • Problem: telling a lie. Skill to teach: honesty.

These teaching moments are not singular in nature. Teach them as often as needed. They will continue to occur until the child learns the principle and teaches it to others. In fact, the child will often remind the adult of the principle when their behavior is in question.

Teach Choices and Consequences

Teach children choioces and consequences. As stated in the hub, Teaching Toddlers Positive Behavior children want and need autonomy, or the power of personal choice. By the time they are past the toddler stage, children should have had experience choosing colors (Which shirt do you want to wear, the blue one or the red one?), shapes (Would you like a kite that is a triangle or a rectangle?), clothing styles (Do you want to wear short pants or long pants today?), and flavors of foods (Chocolate or vanilla?).

Whenever choices are given to children, be sure that the alternatives offered are acceptable. For example, clothing choices for having pictures taken may be between the dress with the satin tie or the dress with the red ruffle, if dresses are to be worn for pictures. Short pants are not an option, therefore, they are not given as part of the choice. The situation becomes win-win for all involved. The adult is able to set boundaries on the behavior of the child, and the child has the experience of making a decision and living with the consequence. The following three methods assist in teaching choices:

  • Time out - the child is removed from a highly desirable environment to one that is less desirable for a certain amount of time. The best use of time out is for disobedience. The child does not do what they are told, therefore, they are in time out.
  • Praise - the child receives verbal ackowledgement for doing the right thing, such as "You set the plates on the table!" The adult simply gives a verbal snapshot of what the child did that was correct. There is no judgement, simply enthusiasm.
  • Encouragement - children need to receive messages that strengthen their sense of well-being in the form of hugs, "I love you," "I like it when you smile" or "you are special because you are you." These help the child to know that they are of worth, no matter what they do.
  • Rewards - the child that puts forth an effort over a period of time needs to be paid for that effort. It can be points that may be spent for free time activities such as friends or computer, money for spending at the store, or tokens to trade in for craft supplies. It does not matter what the system is, it just needs to be agreed upon by both the child and the adult, and used consistently.

Children are very remarkable, and they will accomplish many remarkable things as we help them to learn, develop skills, and teach them to make wise choices. Our ability to keep our actions positive will bring a bountiful harvest of positive actions from them.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks Ingenira, Wisie, and Hewhohn for leaving comments. I appreciate the feedback. I've been on the phone a lot with one of my daughters helping with her children. Parenting is a lifetime occupation!

    • hewhohn profile image

      hewhohn 6 years ago

      I'm glad to visit this hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • WisieDailyWisdom profile image

      WisieDailyWisdom 6 years ago from Atlanta

      Thanks Denise for commenting on my hub and the Wisie video. I added another Wisie video to the hub, do take a look when you can.

      Your suggestion on Encouragement ""you are special because you are you." brings to mind this beautiful inspirational mother quote, a mother can share with her child:

      "You are perfect just the way you are.

      Everyone has unique talents and abilities.

      Everyone has a unique look –

      You are so very special to me my child... You are perfect just the way you are..!!"

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      Excellent tips to teach children positive behaviour. Voted up ! :)

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks Wisie and Jack. These are great ideas and I will check them out. I will be talking about money more when I publish my hub on Teaching Children Responsibility.

    • profile image

      Jack Smith 6 years ago

      since we are talking about life skills, I would recommend Prof Dheeriya's Finance for Kidz series. You can also start teaching them about finance very early on, along with other skills.

    • WisieDailyWisdom profile image

      WisieDailyWisdom 6 years ago from Atlanta

      Great advice! Saw this hub in the newsletter :)

      Our hubs are also on parenting and on how to instill good values, positive attitude and great behavior in children. Do visit when you can and share your thoughts.

      In fact, the whole aim of Wisie daily inspirational videos for children ( is to help parents instill confidence in their children to help them nurture dreams, achieve them and meet with success in all their endeavors. With daily lives becoming hopelessly busy and maddeningly competitive, it is essential for parents to help children grow up into positive, helpful, compassionate, caring and confident human beings.

      Congratulations again for a great hub!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks to all of you, this article will be featured in the newsletter!

    • Ez Kay profile image

      Ez Kay 6 years ago


    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks! As a mother of seven, I have found that is one of the most important things I can do.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination. These are all great suggestions. The best thing we can do for our children is teach them to make good decisions.


    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate hearing from others that find the information to be helpful.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      A beautiful way of presenting the lessons children to learn and develop positive behavior. Being surrounded by preschoolers everyday, I know this to be so true. Rated useful and awesome! :)

      Congratulations on your hubnuggets nomination! Here is the link...