*Special guest post by Melody Shuman, Creator of Skillz!
How can you set your child up for daily success? One of the most effective ways to do this is to focus on prompting instead of punishment. Here’s what you need about prompting your child toward good behavior and decisions:
1. Friendly Competition
One of the ways to prompt your child toward good behavior is to create a simple competition where you dare them to turn a negative behavior to a positive one.
If your child is fidgety and doesn’t sit still or tends to be disruptive, for instance, create a friendly competition or prompt that steers them to better behavior.
To have them sit still, you may ask “Let’s see if you can sit better than me!” This puts their focus on trying to do better than you. They learn how to sit still without even realizing it.
2. A Dose of Praise
If your child wins the friendly little competition, or they do something well, give them a good dose of praise. A few encouraging words such as, “Look at how good you are at this!” are positive reinforcement that makes them feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.
3. Set Your Child Up for Success.
The whole goal behind prompting is to catch your child doing good things. How often do you catch them doing something good rather than bad behavior? Every time you catch your child doing something good, let them know.
Along with praise, setting your child up for success means you recognize and reward their good behaviors. In fact, the more you catch them doing good things, the more their brain tells them “I like this!” which gives them a good reason to continue.
4. Brain Power
The more you punish your child’s behavior, the more cortisol (stress hormone) is released and goes to your child’s brain. So, what kind of brain do you want your child to have? A brain that is excited about doing good things, or a brain that anticipates getting in trouble? I know my choice. I want my child to be constantly excited about doing good things.
Helping your child improve their behaviors involves more than prompting them, setting them up for success, and catching them do good things. Sometimes prompting involves redirection. Redirection is simply redirecting their attention in a different direction when they are upset, worried or anxious. Completely change the subject to something positive and engaging.
If they are upset, redirect them to look out the window at something interesting, or ask about a favorite toy. This type of prompting helps divert their attention to a positive experience which supersedes their other difficult emotions.
The final questions to ask yourself is how well you prompt your child for successful interactions and behaviors. I think we can all agree that children will not have the very best discipline all the time. To improve their level of discipline, it is important that we prompt them all the time. Then, catch your child doing good things and set them up for success.
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Sensei Chris Feldt is the owner and chief instructor of Samurai Karate Studio, a leadership academy located in Northeast Columbia, South Carolina. His school teaches karate to children and adults ages 4 and up. SKS specializes in self-defense, anti-bullying, stranger danger and character and leadership development.
Mr. Feldt was an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina for college credit in karate and self-defense. Samurai Karate Studio has been recognized as a leader in martial arts instruction by being honored with the Best of Columbia Award for martial arts instruction for 7 consecutive years in a row.
Sensei Feldt is a certified instructor for C.O.B.R.A., a worldwide self-defense, and personal protection program. SKS offers Active Shooter Training, Real Estate Safety, 10 Week Self Defense Academies, Bully Workshops, and Child Safety Camps.
Sensei Feldt has been a guest speaker in the Richland 2 School District covering school talks on stranger danger, anti-bullying strategies, kindness, and making good choices. He is available for both private and corporate self-defense seminars
Samurai Karate Studio is also a proud member of MAAB, Martial Artists Against Bullying, a nationwide program made up of martial arts schools throughout the country that are committed to helping children who are victims of bullying. If you or someone you know is being bullied, we are here to help. But, you have to take the first step and either call us at 803-462-9425 or email us at: [email protected]
Bullying is one of the most serious issues we face today and with the right coaching, students can learn how to defeat the bully using non-violent strategies.