Discipline: Redirect Your Child

What is redirecting?

Redirecting is helping to change bad behavior by shifting your child’s attention. Redirecting works well with a younger child who might not understand or listen to reason and logic. You can let your child know that her behavior is not OK, stop the bad behavior, and help your child feel good about what she does instead.

Paying attention to good behavior can help prevent bad behavior. Children like to please their parents. Encouragement and praise are more likely to motivate your young child than threats and fear.

How does it work?

Here are some examples of ways to redirect your child:

  • If your child is singing out loud during quiet time, you could tell her that she is very good at singing, and remind her that it is quiet time. Tell her what you don’t want her to do using words that she can understand. Then ask her if she knows how to sing on the inside like big kids do. She will likely be curious, and try to sing on the inside. If she’s quiet for a few minutes, say thank you or tell her what a good job she’s doing of singing on the inside.
  • If your child is throwing wooden blocks, tell her that we don’t throw blocks. Then ask her if she knows how to throw a foam ball into a basket. When she tries throwing the ball, comment on how far she can throw the ball and tell her you are proud of her.
  • If your child is running in the house, explain calmly that running in the house is not OK. You could make a game of walking slowly from room to room with her playing “following the leader”. Or suggest that you go to the park and race to the swings. Praise your child for being able to run fast in the right places.
  • If your child is playing with something you don’t want her to have, replace it with another object or toy that she enjoys. This approach may avoid a fight and does not give your child a chance to say no.

Talk to your child’s healthcare provider if you have questions about discipline or need help with behavior problems.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-09-29
Last reviewed: 2014-09-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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