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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 their behavior is not OK, stop the bad behavior, and help your child feel good about what they do 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:

  • Children learn by example, so model the behavior you want them to follow. If your child pulls the dog’s tail, show them how to pet the dog gently.
  • If your child is singing out loud during quiet time, you could tell them that they are very good at singing. Then you can also remind them that it is quiet time. Tell your child what you don’t want them to do using words they can understand. Then ask them if they know how to sing on the inside like big kids do. They will likely be curious and try to sing on the inside. If your child is quiet for a few minutes, say thank you or tell them what a good job they’re doing.
  • If your child is throwing wooden blocks, tell them that we don’t throw blocks. Then ask your child if they know how to throw a foam ball into a basket. When your child tries throwing the ball, comment on how far they can throw the ball and tell them you are proud.
  • 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 them playing “follow 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 them to have, replace it with another object or toy they enjoy. This approach may help to avoid a fight and does not give your child a chance to say no.

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

Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2019-08-07
Last reviewed: 2019-08-07
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.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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