What is behavioural management?

Behavioural management for children often involves the use of evidence-based strategies. It is a strategy that aims to modify behaviour in a positive and constructive manner. In other words, behaviour management gives attention to your child when they behave well, rather than punishing your child when they do something you don’t like. It is often applied in educational and therapeutic environments.

The main concepts of behavioural management include:

  • Positive Behavior Support (PBS): It is an approach that focuses on understanding and addressing the underlying reasons for challenging behaviour. By identifying the function of behaviour, it can help to develop strategies to reinforce positive behaviours and reduce the occurrence of challenging ones.

  • Visual Supports: Many children benefit from visual supports, such as visual schedules, social stories, and visual cues. These tools can help communicate expectations, routines, and transitions, providing a clear structure that can be reassuring for the child.

  • Consistency and Routine: Children often thrive in environments with consistent routines. Predictability can reduce anxiety and help children feel more secure, which, in turn, can positively influence their behaviour.

  • Communication Strategies: Some children may face challenges in communication. It's essential to use clear and simple language, and, if necessary, incorporate alternative communication methods such as visual aids, sign language, or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices.

  • Sensory Considerations: Some children may have sensory sensitivities or sensory processing challenges. Understanding and addressing sensory needs can contribute significantly to managing behaviour. This may involve creating sensory-friendly environments or providing sensory breaks when needed.

  • Collaboration with Parents and Specialists: Collaborate closely with parents, special education professionals, and any specialists involved in the child's care. Sharing information and strategies ensures consistency between home and school environments, supporting the child's overall development.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Emphasize positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviours. Celebrate small successes and provide praise or rewards that are meaningful to the child. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator.

  • Flexibility: Recognize that the needs of children may change over time. Be flexible in adapting strategies and interventions based on the child's progress and evolving needs.

Every child may face unique challenges that require tailored approaches to support their development and address specific behaviours. Therefore, when you understand what’s behind your child’s behaviour, you can choose a strategy that’s well matched to the behaviour.


Why is behavioural management important?

Behavioural management holds significant importance for several compelling reasons, especially for children and individuals with special needs. It can help to create a positive and inclusive learning environment, where all students feel safe and respected, and becomes a fertile ground for learning and development. Moreover, tailoring behaviour management strategies to address the unique challenges of students with special needs ensures individualised support for each student.

The reduction of disruptive behaviours not only allows teachers to focus on instruction but also enables uninterrupted learning for all students. Moreover, managing behaviours positively contributes to enhanced student engagement in the learning process, resulting in improved academic and social outcomes, especially for students with special needs.

Behaviour management goes beyond the classroom by teaching valuable self-regulation and coping skills, which are essential for life beyond academics. Additionally, it addresses social challenges by promoting strategies to improve social skills and build positive peer relationships.

The importance of behaviour management extends to the safety of both students and educators, preventing potential dangers and maintaining a secure learning environment. Ultimately, the positive and supportive management of behaviours contributes to an improved quality of life for students with special needs, fostering their academic progress, the development of essential life skills, and a fulfilling educational experience.

Behavioural management at home is essential for fostering a healthy and supportive family environment. It plays a crucial role in shaping positive behaviours among family members and promoting harmonious relationships.

By establishing clear expectations and consistent consequences, behavioural management creates a structured and secure atmosphere within the household. This structure helps children in their social, emotional, and cognitive development, providing a foundation for lifelong skills. Additionally, behavioural management teaches conflict resolution, communication skills, and a sense of responsibility, contributing to a positive atmosphere and reducing stress within the home.

Proactive behavioural management not only addresses immediate behaviour issues but also prevents the development of more serious problems in the future. It empowers parents with confidence in their parenting roles and facilitates a positive learning environment for children, supporting their overall well-being and academic success. Ultimately, behavioural management at home is a foundational element for a thriving and resilient family unit.


How it works?

Behavioural management is a systematic strategy. To begin behaviour management, the first crucial point is to understand the reason behind your child’s behaviour. It’s essential to consider factors such as your child’s developmental stage. For instance, tantrums are typical in children due to their limited vocabulary for expressing intense emotions.

As children grow, they will gain a better understanding of behaviour and, with guidance, develop skills to regulate their emotions. Meanwhile, challenging behaviour may indicate underlying issues such as the child’s overall well-being. For instance, the child’s health and sleep. Moreover, the changes in family life, such as the arrival of a new sibling, starting school, or a family loss, can also impact a child’s behaviour. Therefore, identifying the factors ensures a holistic approach to managing and supporting a child’s development.

Second, selecting behavioural management strategies. Selecting effective behavioural management strategies often involves trial and error, as not all strategies suit every child and situation. It’s important to experiment with different approaches that align with the child’s age, developmental stage, and situation. Combining multiple strategies might be necessary for comprehensive and tailored support. If you are finding the strategies don’t work or are hard to use, it’s a good idea to seek support from a professional.

Third, the effectiveness of positive behaviour management strategies is heightened when you invest time and energy in creating a positive home environment and nurturing strong family bonds through affection and communication. Always remember, that healthy family relationships play a vital role in fostering a sense of security and love for your child. These emotional foundations are essential for children’s overall development, growth, and learning, providing them with the necessary support to understand and navigate behaviours effectively.

Lastly, directing children toward proper behaviour is a significant and crucial responsibility. To excel in this role, it is essential to prioritise self-care with healthy food, rest and exercise. Taking care of your well-being enables you to maintain a positive mindset and respond calmly to your child’s behaviours. Thus, contributes to fostering a constructive and supportive environment for guiding your child effectively.


Myths and Facts

Myth 1: Discipline and punishment are the same.

Fact 1: Punishment is a form of negative discipline; it aims to halt inappropriate behaviours through consequences that make children unhappy. However, it is generally ineffective in producing long-term behavioural changes. In contrast, positive discipline centres on facilitating learning from mistakes, with the ultimate goal of altering future behaviour.


Myth 2: Behaviour change equals learning.

Fact 2: Behaviour change needs plenty of nurturing. It’s important that training is regularly reinforced so that the required information works its way deep into the learner’s brain. It’s more than just knowledge is needed.


Myth 3: Behaviour can change overnight.

Fact 3: Studies show that forming a habit takes approximately 66 days. This extended period is crucial for the brain, which constantly seeks energy-efficient solutions, resulting in the formation of habits. Initially, learning creates new neural pathways that transmit information to the brain. The more these pathways are used through consistent application of knowledge, the more established and ingrained the habits become over time. Remember, there are no shortcuts!


Myth 4: Behaviour change is an individual effort.

Fact 4: Studies suggest that external factors and influences beyond the child’s actions play a significant role in shaping and modifying behaviour. It included environmental influences, social learning, school impact, parental guidance and discipline. A change in behaviours in children emphasizing the importance of external influences and support systems. While individual effort remains a factor, it is not the sole determinant of behaviour, as various external factors collectively contribute to a child's development and behaviour.


Myth 5: Behaviour change is unimportant.

Fact 5: Behavioural change in children is crucial for several reasons, and it plays a fundamental role in their overall development and well-being. Positive behaviour is linked to social and academic success, fostering positive relationships with peers and educators. It also contributes to emotional regulation, helping children cope with stress and promoting mental well-being. At the same time, a successful behaviour change enhances a child’s self-esteem and confidence, laying the foundation for a positive self-image and long-term well-being.   


Myth 6: Behaviour change is harder the older you get.

Fact 6: Yes, behaviour change in older children may present unique challenges due to their cognitive development, and developed habits and patterns. However, it’s important to note that behaviour change is still possible in older children. It often requires a more nuanced and collaborative approach involving open communication, understanding of their perspective, and a supportive environment that encourages positive change.


In summary, behavioural management is a pivotal strategy with broad implications for shaping positive behaviours and fostering well-being. Whether in education, therapy, or at home, this approach emphasises positive reinforcement, addresses disruptive behaviours, and teaches essential life and coping skills. Proactive and versatile, behavioural management not only corrects immediate challenges but also prevents the escalation of more serious issues. Its holistic nature contributes to creating positive, supportive environments and stands as a valuable tool for nurturing growth and well-being in diverse contexts.

*When seeking behavioural management support for a child, it's essential to consider the specific needs of the child and the nature of the behaviours in question. Consulting with professionals who specialise in child development and behaviour can provide personalised strategies and support tailored to your child's unique circumstances.*