Photo credit: Matt MolinariWhen it comes to early childhood education, nothing is more important than forming meaningful relationships with the youngsters under your care.
Given that a child's first 5-7 years are so crucial for social and intellectual development, it's no surprise that behavior management is a key part of the relationship-building process.
Learning how to observe, understand, and effectively respond to challenging behavior is key to building trust with children.
With trust comes better communication, which in turn helps kids learn and grow. That's why behavior intervention is a key component of early childhood education training.
Whether you're just beginning early childhood education courses—or nearing graduation—these three tips will help you develop a well-managed, happy, and healthy classroom.
Don't go Straight to Punishing: Offer Children a Second Chance
Let's say you're faced with an over-excited child who wants to run around your classroom—even though you have clearly explained that running is dangerous and against the rules.
Rather than going straight to a punishment, try re-directing the child toward a more safe and productive activity, like an art project at the activity table. Or building with blocks at a play station. Your early childhood education courses will equip you with a wide range of educational activities to choose from when re-directing.
Just remember: behavior intervention doesn't have to be punitive. Help young kids see positive alternative behaviors—offer them a second chance to make a better choice.
Consider Diverse Learning Needs Before Intervening
If a child gets frustrated easily, tends to lash out with bites or kicks, or simply can't sit still during quiet time, it's important to consider behavioral or learning challenges as a root cause of the behavior.
Rather than assuming the little one is willfully "acting out", discuss their behavior habits with a supervisor or colleague. Does this child have a documented learning disability?
Shadow the child for a day or two and take note of how and when the negative behavior occurs. Rather than repeatedly reprimanding the student (which will only make matters worse), consider how you could adapt or modify activities to better suit their individual needs.
For example, a child with an attention deficit may find it impossible to sit down and focus for 20 minutes of circle time—resulting in disruptive behavior. Why not invite this child to be your "helper" and give him or her a series of small tasks to carry out? This way, the student doesn't become agitated and can still participate in the activity.
Early childhood education training promotes customized behavior interventions, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, when managing diverse groups of children.
Get Creative with Rewards for Positive Behavior Reinforcement
Rewarding good behavior in meaningful ways can be quite powerful for stopping negative behavior before it even starts.
There are so many ways to let young children know you appreciate how they follow rules and treat one another with respect. Ideas for reward systems include:
- a prominently displayed chart where children can earn stickers for helping with clean up, lining up quickly, getting their jacket on without dawdling—or any other typically challenging task
- a table points system, where groups are rewarded for working together well during collaborative activities
- a communal jar where tokens are added when the whole class behaves well—once it's full, the kids can choose a reward, like extra computer time, 5 more minutes of outside play, etc.
- frequent verbal encouragement when children resolve conflict well, share with others, complete tasks on time, etc.
Do you love working with children, and want more information about early childhood education programs in Montreal?
We welcome you to explore Herzing's Early Childhood Education diploma program. Click below to explore the training, request free information, and connect with an Admissions Advisor. We're here to help!