How To Make Positive Suggestions and Improve Your Child’s Behaviour: Communication Skills That Work

Don’t peek at the picture at the end of this post.

I bet you found it hard to resist just taking a quick look. As soon as you read that suggestion, your curiosity jumped into action. Maybe the ‘don’t’ also annoyed you enough to want to disobey.

I wonder how many times you say ‘don’t’ or 'stop' to your child every day. You may have the best intentions, but every time you mention something you want him to avoid, you plant the suggestion in his mind.

Once his brain has a clear picture or idea in it, he'll find it hard to resist. He needs your help to replace it with something else.

Avoid encouraging negativeideas and images by changing your own language.

Learn to make positive suggestions that focus your child's attention on the behaviour you want to encourage.

Stop coughing
A tickly cough can be a nightmare when you want to keep quiet. The more she tries not to cough, the more that tickle irritates your child. Better advice would be: Breathe out slowly, counting to four, then in again gently.

Distract her attention to another part of her body, making a comment on her shoes or suggesting her ear may be itching. Or get her to distract herself by pinching her finger tips together or getting her to sip a glass of water.

Stop laughing at that man
Sometimes, your child or teen will be overcome by embarrassing embarrassing giggling that he just can't control. Help him to get a grip on himself by making alternative suggestions that distract his attention, like: Look what’s happening over there? and pointing in the opposite direction.

Don’t run
Much better to say: Walk slowly and carefully. That focuses attention on to the action you want and helps your child put his energy into walking as slowly as he can.

Stop shouting
A class of noisy six year olds will quieten much more quickly if you ask them to practice their whispers, tell them to copy your actions as you put your finger on your lips or point and say: Look! in a commanding voice.

Don’t look down
Imagine you’re walking along a tightrope and a helpful friend calls that out. It maybe hadn’t occurred to you to look down until they suggested it! Your friend would have done much better to say: Keep looking at the tree straight ahead.

Get better results by planting positive suggestions in your child’s mind.

Here’s that picture at last: Your Happy Kids!

Some more posts on communication skills:

How to Avoid the Unscrupulous Salesman’s Language Traps

How to Banish Guilt Through Positive Thinking

How to Give Advice: Communication Skills That Work


  1. Great advice!
    ... Not just for kids, either. Adults respond well, too ;)

  2. Yes, you're so right - it's easy to forget we need positive thinking too!


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