Parents Plus & Parents First Psychology Led Service

Helping children with their behaviour: Connection & Correction

The Two Hands of Caregiving: Connection & Correction

The ‘two hands’ of caregiving help children to thrive.

Hand one is connection – the relationships we build with children through warm, loving interactions, child appropriate experiences and play.

Hand two is correction – the supervision, structure and boundaries that children need to feel safe and secure.


Using Connection & Correction to Respond to Children’s Behaviour (Dr Nicola Canale, 2020)

As well as using the two hands of caregiving in an ongoing way, we can also use connection and correction ‘in the moment’ whilst responding to children’s behaviour. This approach will not only help us to respond to the behaviour but  will also help develop children’s ‘self-regulation’ skills so that they are more able to display positive behaviours in the future. Here are 7 steps to help with this:

  • Clock it: Do you need to step in for safety or can you ignore the behaviour and/or distract the child?


  • Calm yourself: Press pause on your ‘react’ button.


  • Calm your child: If your child is overwhelmed by big emotions, settle them and bring them back to a state of calm.


  • Curiosity: Try and wonder about the feelings that are underneath the behaviour. For example, think H.A.L.T. – are they feeling hungry, angry, lonely (in need of connection) or tired?


  • Connection: Connect the feeling to the behaviour by naming it out loud e.g., ‘I think you are feeling cross because you can’t do the puzzle. Let me help you’.    This will let your child know you are trying  to  understand  them  and  help  them calm.


  • Correction: Stay firm and consistent with the boundaries you have set. Give  an age appropriate consequence if this is necessary. Natural choices and consequences work well with younger children e.g., ‘Wellies on or no park – the choice is yours’.


  • (Re)Connect: Repair the relationship through a cuddle or kind words and move on.

Created by Educational Psychologists at Cardiff Parenting Service.

For more information, advice or support please contact Cardiff Family Gateway:

Telephone: 03000 133 133



Credit given to the work of Dan Huhes & Kim Golding

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