Catching Your Child “Being Good” is Good for Everyone


Barbara Unell

Catching your child “being good” means telling your child that you like his good behavior, such as sharing, telling the truth, saying he’s sorry for doing something wrong, and treating others kindly. The more times you do this every day, the more your child will behave nicely every day!

My husband learned this lesson quickly. When our twins behaved nicely as toddlers, he found himself ignoring them. He had never heard his parents give him attention for behaving nicely. And he didn’t do so with his own children, either.

But he saw that our children behaved better when I pointed out their good behavior and told them how much I liked it, by saying, “Justin, I like that you helped your sister, Amy, pick up her blocks when she dropped them.”

So my husband decided that he didn’t want to discipline our children like his parents had disciplined him—by ignoring them when they did something good.  As a parent of toddlers, he learned that his children were better behaved when he was observant, patient, and consistent in catching his children “being good” by praising their good behavior.

Catching your child “being good”:

  • teaches your child to be responsible for her actions
  • provides a safe and loving environment for your child
  • shows your child how to turn mistakes and challenges into teachable moments
  • helps your child grow up sharing, telling the truth, apologizing, using good manners, and treating others kindly—all good behaviors to use throughout life.

Make sure you sign up for our weekly emails to learn more about how to be a “catch-your-child-being-good” parent.

Make a list of all of the actions that you want your child to do—say “Please” and “Thank you”, pick up her toys, use a napkin at the table, etc. Then it will be easy for you to catch her “being good” when she does these things.

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This blog was written by Barbara Unell

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