Looking after your grandkids this summer holidays is made easier with these behavioural tips.
Looking after your grandkids this summer holidays is made easier with these behavioural tips. izusek

Kids behaving badly: Tips to care for disobedient grandkids

AS YOU take the hand of your grandchild over the Christmas holidays, your wealth of life knowledge will be invaluable in handling some of the challenges the child will present.

But if you simply don't quite know how to cope with a demanding, overly active, badly behaved child or teenager, some of the following tips could be just what you need to put a smile on your face at the end of each caring day.

Stay calm.

  • "Sometimes that means stepping away and trying to see things from the child's perspective," recommends director of Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital National Child Health Poll, paediatrician Dr Anthea Rhodes.

Look at what might the cause or trigger for the problem.

  • It could the child is feeling overwhelmed or anxious, or not being unable to process emotions in the same way that an older child can do.

Be consistent with what is expected and what will be the consequences.

  • For young children and toddlers, distraction works really well when redirecting them from an activity. "If that doesn't work, then try time out where you take the child aside for a short period to cool or calm down and then reengaging with what you think is more appropriate behaviour," Dr Rhodes said.

Praise works better than punishment.

  • "Children are hard-wired to respond to attention," Dr Rhodes said. "The best type they can get is positive attention for a good behaviour because that is going to feed their self-esteem, make them feel confident and have them repeating that behaviour again and again."
  • Do be very specific and frequent with your praise and look at recognising everyday achievements.


  • It's better to reward a child at the time of good behaviour rather than offer a bribe, which might be unrealistic or unaffordable, and which they may expect as an outcome every time you want them to do something.


  • With laws, attitudes and knowledge changing, physical discipline isn't an effective way to help a child learn the right behaviour. It can also be associated with harming children and causing self-esteem issues. There is also the concern that a child may use their physical discipline experience to apply it as their way to discipline their peers.

Saying sorry.

  • Be prepared to apologise and change your plans if you think what you are doing or saying really isn't the right approach.

For you.

  • Take the time to have a break, relax and reward yourself so that you are ready to do it all again.

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