We all strive to ensure our children are growing and developing into the best version of themselves. And while life with little ones can be full of hugs and cuddles, there’s no disputing that one never knows what shocking behavior will come out of their sweet lips or burst from their adorable fingers!
From learning not to throw toys in a tantrum at age two to understanding boundaries by age three, a lot goes into teaching our children how to behave appropriately as they grow up.
But did you know encouraging developmentally appropriate behavior can benefit them far beyond childhood? Read on for some scientifically-backed reasons that motivating your child towards good habits can help secure healthy outcomes now and down the road.
What Does Developmentally Appropriate Behavior Look Like for Children?
Understanding what developmentally appropriate behavior looks like for children helps parents and educators approach the learning process in meaningful, practical ways. Here are the three main categories for behavioral development in children.
Social behavior is a critical component of this concept. How one interacts with peers and adults is important. Young children might be seen communicating with peers through playing, while older kids may converse around a shared interest. No matter the age group, children should demonstrate respect and good manners when interacting with adults.
From toddlers to teens, it’s essential to set an example of how to interact appropriately in different settings. This means using polite language, deferring to adults, and being courteous — even if it takes a lot of practice!
Emotional intelligence is critical too. It helps children recognize their own emotions as well as those of others and make beneficial decisions based on that understanding. This is critical when it comes to understanding one another and developing empathy for their peers.
Self-regulation is another essential trait for children to learn, as this will help them become confident and capable adults. This can be done by teaching them to pause before responding emotionally in challenging settings, such as disagreeing with a parent or taking criticism from a teacher.
Developing self-regulation can allow children to cope with the ever-changing adolescent years in positive ways, fostering their self-awareness and helping them cultivate the ability to adapt easily to new situations.
How To Teach Appropriate Behavior at Home
Build a Loving Relationship
Encouraging and supporting your child as they grow is essential for their behavioral development. As children advance in age, their need for different approaches to nurturing may change. Establishing a secure relationship based on unconditional love will foster trust and confidence.
This means being consistent in discipline and providing your energetic little one with the tools needed to manage their emotions and impulses. Ultimately, you want them to feel safe enough to try new things, make mistakes, learn from them, and develop a self-awareness that will stay with them forever!
Give Them Your Full Attention
One of the key things to remember is to show your child they are respected and valued. An easy way to do this is by actively listening with full attention when they talk and then restating what they say to show them that you understand. Then you can reply appropriately.
Think of it as a two-way interaction with your child, where you both contribute equally! Doing this shows that you are engaged in what they have to say, builds a strong relationship between the two of you, and gives them the chance to develop their vocabulary.
Model Healthy Boundaries
Raising a happy, balanced, and emotionally intelligent child requires more than just your love and care. To help with their behavioral development, set clear boundaries while also offering appropriate support – think of it as taking on the role of a coach!
Model the behavior you expect from your little one, and make sure your instructions are clear. This will help them practice self-regulation independently as they get older. Throughout the process, highlight successes and provide additional prompts as needed, to build upon incremental steps to ensure steady progress in developing necessary life skills!
Encourage Conversations About Emotions
It can be especially difficult for many toddlers and children to regulate and understand their emotions, but it doesn’t have to be! Expressing interest in the emotions of your little ones will validate their feelings and pave the way for an open conversation about why they are feeling the way they feel.
Parenting is as much a learning process as it is one of instruction, so use the opportunity to learn from each other and foster an environment of growth and understanding.
Read Books With Important Lessons
Reading children’s books is an effective way to help your child with their behavioral development. Not only do they provide endless entertainment, but they also serve as a great tool to teach your child important lessons and skills.
By carefully choosing books that address your child’s recent social and emotional behaviors, you can spend quality time reading aloud to them and invite them to identify the emotions in the story or connect them to their own experiences. Reading stories together is a fun and interactive way to learn essential life skills.
Praise Your Child For Being Themselves
Kids, like everyone else, need to feel recognized for their accomplishments, big or small. For effective praise to truly have an impact on helping your child with their behavioral development, focus on being sincere and specific in how you express it.
Instead of telling them “good job!” for a task they accomplished, try to be more specific by acknowledging the task and also how it was done. For starters, you can congratulate how they stayed focused or worked hard to accomplish it. Avoid comparing your child’s work to anyone else’s, and be as specific as possible when offering praise.
Support Your Child Every Step of The Way
When it comes to helping your child excel in their behavioral development, it pays to be familiar with what is expected for their age. From infancy to the teenage years, there are many milestones that should be achieved, and you can help foster them.
As an infant, teaching your baby basic behavior, such as making eye contact or learning not to bite, is essential.
For toddlers and preschoolers, you must help them learn the basics of manners, politeness, and respect for boundaries.
Finally, for adolescents, emphasizing mutual respect and encouraging independence within a safe environment will help show your child that you trust and support them.
Whatever stage of life your child is in, the most important thing is to provide a stable foundation grounded in care and patience – but don’t forget to have some fun along the way too!
At Meaningful Beginnings, we understand that strong behavioral foundations need to be built from an early age. Whether it’s feeling brave enough to voice their opinion or demonstrating kind behavior – developing an understanding of the importance of such qualities helps set kids up for success in their future! We strive to empower your child through our services and guidance, so they feel assured and can confidently embrace the world! Let us show you how this all works – contact us today!