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How to Effectively Use Positive Redirection

At some point, every parent has to deal with a child that is doing something they don't want them to do. Perhaps they are throwing a having an emotional breakdown, or maybe they are making a mess in the house.

Either way, how you handle such situations can make a big difference in whether it escalates or diffuses. Using positive redirection is a great way to handle such situations.

Positive Behaviors

Using positive redirection with your child is really about taking the undesired behavior and getting them to do something positive. For example, suppose you have two children that seem to be getting on each other's nerves, going back and forth. There is a good chance they are doing this out of boredom.

You can redirect that behavior in a positive way by pulling out some puzzles and announcing that it is puzzle time. Before you know it, their attention will be shifted onto doing something positive, and they will have moved past the bickering. To effectively use redirection for your child's behavior keep these tips in mind:

Positive Parenting Success

If your child is playing with the quarter on the table, for example, and it annoying you, calmly walk over, as you are talking about something unrelated, and gently take the quarter. Chances are there will be no fuss. But had you made a big deal out of it or yanked it out of their hand, it would escalate the situation. As you practice redirection more, you will become more successful at it. You may find that the struggle to get your child to switch gears and start doing something else is much easier when you take this subtle, yet effective approach. You will master the art of redirection, and they won't even see it coming!

  • Listen to them if your child is arguing with you because they want to do something or go somewhere, but then calmly explain the reason why they cannot do it.
  • Remain calm. If you feel frustrated, take some breaths and calm down before redirecting the behavior.
  • Bring in what you want the attention to focus on. Usually redirecting behavior works better if you don't make eye contact or speak about the situation you want to stop.
  • Focus on being positive. The goal is to get the child to do something you want them to do, rather than just have an argument over what you don't want them to do.