Strategies for strengthening positive behaviours by decreasing undesired behaviours


We’ve talked about some strategies for increasing desired behaviours, but there are also some tactics that we can employ with children to decrease undesired behaviours. Children might behave in undesired ways because they haven’t learnt the appropriate behaviour, or maybe they haven’t learnt how to control negative feelings, or maybe they feel insecure in their environment. By giving them attention when they display negative behaviours, we unintentionally contribute to the likelihood that they will repeat these behaviours. Instead, we can decrease these behaviours by teaching them the appropriate behaviours and rewarding them with praise and attention when they display positive behaviours.

You can use ‘quiet time’ as a way to help a child calm down after an undesired behaviour is displayed or repeated. Let children sit quietly, without distractions, for a short time, in a designated ‘quiet time’ space. Be clear about the undesired behaviour and the consequence of sitting in quiet time, but also let the child know that they can come back from quiet time after a period of time – one or two minutes for young children, five minutes for older children. When they return to their activity, it is best to follow up with praise for some appropriate behaviour as soon as possible, so children learn that positive behaviours receive praise and attention.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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