Key messages to promote positive behaviour in our children

Promoting Positive Behaviour – Key Messages about Managing Your Child’s Behaviour

How you react as a parent is normally connected to how your child is behaving. If you are aware of how you are feeling it will help you to be more aware of what is causing your child’s behaviour.

  1. Be Consistent – Both parents need to agree on acceptable behaviour otherwise your child will get mixed messages. Don’t make threats you won’t carry out as your child will just learn to ignore you. The most difficult time for parents to be consistent is when they are tired or in a hurry. It is important for parents to be aware of their own energy and mood when it comes to managing their child’s behaviour.
  2. Be Clear: Make sure that your child is paying attention when you are telling them something. Once you have the child’s attention you have to be specific about what you want them to do. “Watch what you are doing” is not clear enough. “I want you to keep your car on the floor and not on the table” is easier for a child to follow.
  3. Be Positive: Positive requests like “Walk to the table” are better than negative ones “Don’t run to the table”.
  4. Reward Positive Behaviour: A child has a basic need for attention & inappropriate behaviour is often a child’s way of getting the attention they need. By acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour the child gets what they need. Rewards like a kiss or a hug or saying “well done” should be given right away so that the child links the behaviour to the attention they are receiving.

©Lifestart Foundation 2018

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        Short videos on the Importance of Play have recently launched which was a collaboration between North Central CFSN and Lifestart Services.   Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4 Volume 5 Volume 6

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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