Essential Child Behaviour Management Strategies: 7 Top Picks

Seven essential child behaviour management strategies for parents, teachers, educators, and caregivers.

Brad Williams
November 2023

Childhood is a period of immense learning and growth. As children explore their world, they inevitably push the boundaries which results in some difficult yet typical behaviours, it is important to remember, this is a normal part of their development.

However, as children get older it is essential for the adults around them to guide and support them, so that the behaviour is more positive in their interactions with those around them, both at home and school. This is often referred to as Child Behaviour Management, a sometimes difficult yet necessary part of achieving our long term goal, which is to help children to mature so that they can better self-regulate and self-manage.

Effective behaviour management in children plays a significant role in teaching them about appropriate behaviours, self-discipline, and understanding consequences and the impact their behaviour has on them and others. Both positive and negative.

Here we explore some of the essential child behaviour management strategies that parents, teachers, educators, and caregivers can implement to help develop self-regulation in children , and improve social-competence.

1. Understand the behaviour

The first step in child behaviour management is understanding the reasons behind certain behaviours.

Often, children exhibit undesirable behaviour due to unmet needs, thus causing the emotions and feelings to escalate and the child becomes dysregulated. We need to be aware, many children have not reached the level of maturity required to identify with or communicate their feelings…yet!

Parents and educators should try their best to look beyondthe behaviour itself and identify the underlying needs or emotions. This can be very difficult when the behaviour is happening, as it requires us to to leratethe uncomfortable space we find ourselves in.

2. Clear and Consistent Expectations

Children thrive in environments where they know what to expect, most of the time. They like predictability.

Clear, consistent expectations provide a framework for children to understand what behaviour is OK and positive and which is not. The expectations should be age-appropriate, realistic, and communicated at the right time and in a way the child can understand.

Consistency is crucial - if rules vary too much from day today or person to person, children may become confused, frustrated and anxious, and they may have a harder time learning appropriate behaviour.

3. Positive Reinforcement

One of the most powerful child behaviour management strategies is positive reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement is the process of encouraging or establishing a pattern of behaviour by providing a desirable or pleasant stimulus when the behaviour is exhibited. In essence, this strategy involves acknowledging and appreciating positive behaviour when it occurs. For instance, praising a child when they share their toys encourages them to repeat such behaviour.

Positive reinforcement can also take the form of rewards, such as extra playtime or a special activity. However, it's important not to overly rely on material rewards, as this could lead to children behaving well solely for the reward.  Positive reinforcement should not be confused with a bribe!

4. Model Appropriate Behaviour

Children learn a great deal by observing the behaviour of adults around them. Parents and educators can leverage this by modelling the behaviours they want children to adopt.

If you show respect, empathy, kindness, and good communication skills in your interactions with others, the chances are, children will pick up on these behaviours. Children see, children do!

5. Set Up a Routine & prompt the expectations

Routines provide structure and can significantly aid positive behaviour.

Predictable routines make children feel secure, when combined with some gentle prompts along the way, it will help them understand what is expected of them at different times. This reduces the chance ofb ehavioural issues arising from uncertainty or surprises that come from out the blue.

 6. Implement Logical Consequences

Another popular child behaviour management strategy is the implementation of logical consequences – which form an important component of discipline.

At times, despite all efforts to teach and encourage the positive behaviour, children might behave inappropriately. In such instances, implementing logical consequences can prove effective in moderating their behaviour.

Logical consequences are directly linked to the behaviour. For instance, your child knows your expectation of only throwing a ball against an outside wall, but they choose to throw it against an inside wall. You may apply a logical consequence of putting the ball away for a short period of time. When you give the ball back, prompt the behaviour you want, this gives them an opportunity to do the right thing. Taking the ball away for long periods won’t make the logical consequence any more effective.

This strategy helps children understand the impact of their actions.

7. Promote Emotional Intelligence

Promoting emotional intelligence in children with Emotion Coaching is a practical way to help children to learn the skills they need to identify, track, and manage emotions. When taught to do this the child’s emotional reactions can be lessened, which lessens the problem behaviour. We can empathise by labelling and validating emotions, often called the ‘name it to tame it’ approach, when adults do this, children can learn to ‘name it and tame it’ for themselves. A fundamental part to supporting positive behaviour. Emotion Coaching is a very practical and effective behaviour management method, it requires awareness,understanding, listening and patience.


The science tells us that building resilience and positive behaviour skills is about fostering an environment that nurtures and encourages good behaviour. It's about teaching children the skills they need to navigate their world successfully and treating them with respect and understanding along the way. While managing children's behaviour can be challenging, the rewards of seeing them grow into well-rounded, empathetic, and strong individuals are immeasurable.


Want to Learn More About Effective Child Behaviour Management Strategies?

At Behaviour Tonics, we are qualified specialists in childbehaviour management. We offer practical courses and private consults to help parents,teachers, educators and caregivers managechild behaviour calmly and effectively. Leaving more time and energy to enjoy the things you want to be doing.

Our aim is to equip you with simple, yet effective evidence-based strategies so you can find more confidence, more calm and more joy in your interactions with children.

Contact our friendly team today to find out more.