Your child seeks to capture your eyes and appreciates your presence to share his discoveries and show you his exploits. Your attention feeds his self-esteem. Attention, be it positive (encouragement, marks of recognition, etc.) or negative (punishment, threat, emotional blackmail), therefore affects the behavior of your child.
Indeed, your child builds the image he has of himself through the eyes of adults and the attention they pay him. If you are paying attention to your child only to point out things he is not doing well, he may feel less competent or unable to do things right. On the other hand, if you emphasize his good moves, he will develop a sense of competence and he will feel loved and appreciated. You will notice, for example, that after spending time with you, your toddler will stop bedtime for your attention.
In addition, if you pay attention to a behavior, you increase the probability that it will happen again. It is therefore important to choose the behaviors you want to encourage. Learn to recognize the little positive actions that your child does naturally, but that you rarely stress because they do not bother you.
There are many ways to give positive attention.
Very early, babies react with positive attention. For example, you could congratulate your child for catching an object with his hand or for making small sounds with his rattle.
Even small gestures can be significant for your child. Make a smile, a wink, congratulations, a wave of the hand, an applause or any other sign agreed with him. These actions must, however, be immediate and concrete.
Describe specifically your child’s actions and your satisfaction. For example, you could say, “Well done, you shared your muffin with your sister. Look how happy she is. I am proud of you! ”
From the age of 3, children are praiseworthy and boast. Around 4 years or 5 years, you can encourage your child to applaud for his good behavior. This type of “self-congratulation” will also help him learn to recognize his negative gestures.
In moments shared with your child, emphasize the pleasure you have in sharing and playing with him. These moments will give your toddler the motivation to reproduce positive actions.
Aggressiveness or need for attention?
Some children may develop aggressive behaviors to attract the attention of adults around them. For example, by pushing a friend from the daycare or removing a toy from his sister’s hands, your child may know that you or his teacher will come and talk to him.
If your child exhibits similar behavior, then help them understand that there are better ways to get adult attention.
Express your disagreement clearly (“I do not accept that you hurt others”), but avoid long sermons that provide negative attention to the child.
Avoid intentionally ignoring the aggressive behavior. Through his gestures, your child expresses a need that must be met. If you ignore a reprehensible act, your toddler may stop this behavior but will continue to make disturbing gestures to feel recognized. Even if your gesture does not deserve positive attention, your child must know that you still enjoy it.
Expect an increase in aggressive actions at the beginning of the application of these measures. The child can try to test your limits.
Give your child attention when he behaves well. Do not wait until he does something stupid to give him attention. You thus assure him a steady and regular attention.