Imagine buying a new piece of furniture only to find that the instructions to assemble it say: don’t do this, don’t do that, what are you doing, are you listening, don’t complain. Those are completely useless instructions that aren’t going to help anyone. According to Karen Hickman’s article, “Think ‘Name, Verb, Paint,’ Instead of Don’t”, these instructions are very similar to how we talk to our children. There are better ways to improve your child’s behavior without using these negative words.
Focus on what you want your child to do instead of what not to do. Teaching children what their behavior should look, sound, and feel is the first step of learning how to improve their behavior. Putting more focus and attention on positive behavior will result in more positive and less negative actions in the future. Unlike adults, children primarily think visually, like a movie playing in their heads, so using gestures and pictures will help children understand and learn more. Instead of just telling your child what not to do focus on what you want your child to do. Say their name, give them an action, and demonstrate. This is the foundation of “Name, Verb, Paint”. For example, let’s say your child left their toys all around their room instead of in the box with the rest of their toys. Name: Luke, Verb: Pick up your toys that are on the floor…, Paint: And put them in your toy box like this (demonstrate) so your room will be nice and clean. Encouraging expected behavior through this method will help them learn and improve their actions.