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The Hood Magazine

New Year, New Behavior

Jan 07, 2021 08:41AM ● By Mason Bradley, Center Coordinator, BCS Sioux Falls

By: Mason Bradley, Center Coordinator, BCS Sioux Falls

As we begin the New Year, many of us set New Year resolutions to establish productive and healthy routines for ourselves and our children. If you would like to help your child learn new skills or form new habits, this is the perfect time to make plans.

When your child’s behaviors are difficult to manage, such as temper tantrums, hitting, kicking, biting, throwing, or aggression towards themselves, trying to achieve a long-term goal can feel overwhelming and even impossible at times!

Everyone’s steps and progress will be different, but here are a few general tips to keep in mind that should help you stay on course.

 Be patient- If you’re trying to change behavior that has been happening for a long period of time, getting started is going to be the hardest. When people have long patterns of behavior that get them something they want, or get them out of something they don’t want, those patterns can be very difficult to change. It’s important to be consistent with expectations and routines, even when it is difficult or inconvenient, so that your child can learn new, desired behaviors!

 Set realistic goals- It’s great to aim high, but ensure you are setting achievable short-term goals for your child. Small, successful milestones create momentum for bigger change!

  Teach a new behavior that can replace the old unwanted behavior. If your child throws a temper tantrum because you cannot give him what he wants fast enough, teach him how to wait. Start from just a few seconds, then gradually increase to longer periods of time. Praise and reward your child for being patient and for waiting. And most importantly-

 Celebrate SUCCESS! If you’re dealing with long-standing behaviors, then that means those behaviors are already being rewarded in some way, whether intentional or not. Be sure to emphasize the success of even the smallest milestones. If your goal is to have your 5-year-old potty trained by June, then make sure you throw an epic dance party immediately after the first time they successfully use the toilet!

We hope you find this helpful! For more information or ideas on how to modify behavior, check out our free parent resources at or reach out to our team at (605) 271- 2690.