Redirecting Child Behavior – The Art of Distracting Children

Natural parents have a knack at redirecting child behavior. I’m sure you have seen them. They are the parents that can handle many children without any problems. The children do not fight. They do not argue. They just seem to always be happy and well behaved. This is the power of redirecting child behavior as an alternative to head-to-head discipline and conflict.

An Example of Redirecting Child Behavior

As a kindergarten student walks up to the teacher, carrying a pair of scissors, the teacher who is a natural directs this child to something that will draw their attention away from the scissors. While doing that, the teacher reaches out and places her hand over the sharp edge of the scissors. When the child is redirected, the scissors are released by the child and are now in the safe hands of the teacher. There was no conflict. There was no drama. The child is safe and so is the classroom. This is a perfect example of redirecting child behavior.

How Redirecting Child Behavior Works At Home

This method of parenting is very powerful. It allows you to get your children to do what you need without having the power struggles that can normally exists between parent and child. The way this plays out is by using both words and physical direction to get your children to follow through with your instructions. So, if you are telling your children to put on their shoes, you need to then hand them the shoes while you tell them to put the shoes on. This is in contrast to the stereotypical method if telling your child what to do while having no involvement in the activity. Remember these are children. These children still need to be taught. It may not seem like any form of redirection, but it is exactly that. You are giving them directions away from their current activity and you are pointing them in the direction you want them to go.

In addition to using this method to get tasks done, it can be used to prevent or to redirect temper tantrums. In the beginning or middle of a temper tantrum, you can redirect your child by giving them something positive to focus on. Sometimes this positive focus is as simple as talking about a routine activity. It could be what they had for breakfast, what they did at school, what their favorite book is, and so much more. The goal is to get the child thinking about something other than their tantrum.

Is This Good For Your Children?

For those that believe that the only method of parenting is to use strict punishment — this will not feel comfortable or good. The reason being is that those that believe in strict punishment do not see other methods of teaching children as effective. However if the purpose of discipline, not punishment, is to teach the child why not get up and help them learn how to do what you want them to do? You will find that it is much easier to help them along than it is to yell at them until they finally follow your instructions. Not only will your child be happier – so will you. It is not hard, but it does require you to work.

Where Else Can This Be Used?

The concept of redirecting your child is not limited to just working with children. I’m sure there have been times in your life that you wanted to change the subject. Well, the methods here work in all sorts of areas. It works with small children, teenagers, school age kids, college kids, and even adults. You can reflect back, you can redirect, or so many other methods and strategies. You just have to learn how.

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