School Behavior Vs. Home Behavior

Sometimes, parents ask us why their child is able to behave more appropriately at school but not at home. Parents can become confused and frustrated as to why the teachers do not report any concerns for their child but yet the child is having more difficulties managing their behaviors at home. Here are some tips for parents to implement into their homes to help mimic the school environment:

1. Create house rules-knowing that the classroom has set rules for the children to follow, we want to make sure there are also house rules to help mimic the sense of consistency and expectation for the child. House rules will not only help the parents be on the same page but also give the child a visual reminder of behaviors that are not acceptable in the home. Examples of house rules may include:

  • No hitting
  • Clean up toys before bedtime

*It would be best if the parents could write the two- to three- rules on a piece of paper and post it on the refrigerator to serve as a reminder for the entire family. After these are written down, talk to the child about the rules and what will happen if he/she is unable to follow them, such as resulting in a time-out.

2. Reinforce turn taking and sharing-knowing that children are expected to share and take turns with their peers at school, we want to make sure they are also expected to practice these skills at home. Here are some fun ways to incorporate these skills:

  • Play a board game with your child and use turn-taking. You take a turn and then have your child take a turn.
  • Engage in your child’s favorite activity and incorporate sharing. For example, ask your child if he/she can share the toy with you and then give it back after a couple of minutes. Continue to practice asking your child to share toys throughout the day.

*The child may show resistance to turn-taking and sharing outside of the school environment. The best way to implement these skills is to be consistent. Even if the child becomes upset over taking turns or sharing, it is important that the parent continue to follow through with the request in order to establish expectations for the child.

Brittany Hill, MS, MSW, LCSW, DT
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Developmental Therapist
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