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Working Toward Good Behavior in Public

There will be times when you and your young grandchild go out in public – to the store, the park or a restaurant. Planning ahead is essential to ensuring your grandchild’s good behavior outside the home. Don’t stay at home just because you think your grandchild will cause a fuss out in public. “Instead of avoiding social situations, seek them out. However, do it on your terms and in short time spans,” says Dr. Thomas Reimers, Ph.D., Director of Boys Town’s Behavior Health Clinic. “By controlling when you go out and for how long, you can set your child up for success.” Here are 5 tips for successful outings:

  • Start small with shorts trips to the grocery or convenience store. Practice having your grandchild stay by your side and gradually increase the length of your trips.
  • Eliminate distractions. Make sure your grandchild has eaten and has made a trip to the bathroom before leaving the house. Bring items your grandchild can play with as you wait or shop.
  • At home, practice with your grandchild on behaviors you want to see in public. Praise him for following the rules and for good listening.
  • Set your grandchild up for success. Make sure the places you are going are appropriate for his age and abilities. For example, it may not be the best idea to take a toddler to a formal sit-down meal with your friends.
  • Be patient. It will take time for your grandchild to learn how to behave in new places. The key is to slowly shape and reinforce good behavior.