No Hit Zone
November 12, 2012
The "No Hit Zone"
Maintaining safety in a hospital environment
A "No Hit Zone" is an environment in which no adult shall hit another adult; no adult shall hit a child; no child shall hit an adult; and no child shall hit another child.
We encourage you to:
- Listen and talk with your child
- Let your child know what behaviors you expect
- Understand what behaviors to expect based on your child's age and developmental level
There are many ways to manage a child's behavior without using physical punishment. Different methods work for children of different ages and developmental levels, such as:
- Guide and teach instead of punish
- Focus on the positive things the child does
- Praise and reward good behavior
- Let the child know when he or she is being goodBe realistic — expect the child to act like a child
- Be prepared — anticipate and plan for situations and the child's behavior
- Give the child clear expectations
- Build structure and routine in the child's day
- Be consistent and follow through with discipline
Distraction: Redirect the child's attention
Distraction means drawing the child's attention away from what he or she is doing. It works best with infants and toddlers who are too young to understand why they shouldn't be behaving in a certain way. Direct the child's attention to something different while making a simple comment about the unwanted behavior, such as "No touching that."
Timeout: Give the child time to cool down
Timeouts work best for children age 3 and older for tantrums, hitting, arguing, throwing things, etc. They do not work if used too often, in the wrong places or for a long period of time. The child should know in advance that if bad behavior does not stop with one reminder, there will be a timeout. Adults should stay calm and not yell. Timeout should last for one minute per year of the child's age after the child calms down. Praise the child for calming down and briefly discuss the unwanted behavior.
Sticker charts: Chart good habits
Sticker charts can be good tools for reinforcing good habits and breaking bad habits. Create a chart or calendar that the child can help decorate. Explain to the child that he or she will receive a sticker or checkmark each day he or she shows the habit or behavior you are trying to reinforce. This method works best for preschool- and young school-age children. It requires time and attention from adults. Decide how many checkmarks or stickers equal an award. Make the goals reasonable for the child to achieve.
House rules: Agree on family rules and consequences
Setting house rules works best for school-age and teenage children. Rules don't work if the child isn't involved in setting them up, or if the adults do not follow through on consequences for breaking the rules. Avoid trying to set up rules for everything. Make sure consequences are reasonable. Always be willing to listen to the child's reason if he or she feels a rule is unfair. When the rule is broken, calmly remind the child of the rule and the consequence.
For more information about effective and positive discipline, visit www.aap.org and search keywords "effective discipline."
Call Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky at (800) CHILDREN (244-5373) or visit www.pcaky.org for confidential support, encouragement, information and local referrals for parents and caregivers.