Distraction often works well as a behaviour management tool, especially for young children. Diverting a young child’s interest and attention can help you avoid situations that might otherwise result in difficult behaviour.
Using distraction as a behaviour management tool
Distraction is a behaviour management strategy that comes naturally to parents in situations where behaviour might be a problem – for example, when children are getting cranky, when they’ve been sitting still for a long time, when sharing or taking turns with others is getting hard and so on.
Pointing out something interesting, starting a simple game, pulling funny faces – you’ve probably come up with many tricks like these to distract your child.
Distraction usually works. It can also be a good way of keeping children away from dangerous objects and activities. So it’s a great option for managing your child’s behaviour in many situations.
Tips for distracting
Here are distraction tips that usually work for children of all ages:
Distraction can work for older children too. Here are some ideas:
It’s easy to suggest some screen time when you need a quick distraction. Child development experts recommend limiting children’s daily screen time. This is because real-life interactions with you and others are much better for your child’s wellbeing and development.
There’s an important thing to remember about using distraction: if you regularly offer a favourite or rewarding activity after your child has hurt someone or thrown a tantrum, you could inadvertently reward that behaviour. Distraction is best used when you can see that a child might be about to do something wrong, but before the child actually does it.