Why so grumpy?
It’s always refreshing to hear that your child is well-behaved at school or nursery, but when they turn into little monsters at home, it can be hard to comprehend why.
So – just what makes schoolchildren so grumpy and uncooperative after the bell rings?
Firstly, most children behave themselves at school and work hard to impress their teachers because they want to be liked by them. The positive reinforcement they receive in a less familiar environment – with their peers – reins them in when they might otherwise misbehave. Once school’s finished however, the effort of ‘being good’ seeps out into less restrained behaviour.
It should be noted that for most children, this is generally not consciously done. They feel safe and secure at home and they know that ultimately, their needs will be met no matter how they behave there. Having behaved all day, they subsequently let their guard down and they probably also know exactly what they can get away with i.e. they have more power at home.
What can you do then to improve behaviour at home?
- Create a culture of accountability – make sure your child knows their misbehaviour has consequences and won’t be tolerated any more.
- Tackle one behaviour at a time.
- Establish clear rules/expectations.
- Make sure you mean what you say – be consistent.
- Use positive reinforcement.
- Stay calm and don’t join in with aggressive behaviour.
- Lead by example.
Ultimately, if your child is behaving at school, they have the skills to do the same at home, so it’s important to recognise this. Tiredness can also be a contributing factor, so ensuring your child eats healthily and has the energy for a full day’s activities will help, as well as getting a good night’s sleep.
It will take time and effort to generate better behaviour at home, but with perseverance, it can be done.