1. First call the undesired behavior by name.
2. Next, let the child know why the behavior is not acceptable.
3. Last of all, teach the child about an alternative behavior that is acceptable.
Here is an example script for hitting:
“Stella, that’s hitting. We don’t hit in this family. Use your words instead, Stella. Hitting hurts but words can help!”
I even wrote my script on an index card and rehearsed it. I practiced in my head and in front of the mirror. I practiced how I wanted to look and sound so that when the hitting happened, I could respond in the right way. Practicing how to respond really helped me control my initial impulse to yell at her. Warm loving tones always work better when working with children, but the right tone of voice takes practice to develop.
Then, I responded the same way each time the behavior occurred. You have to send the message that each time this behavior pops up it will be met with the same script.