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METHODS FOR HANDLING
CHALLENGING CHILD BEHAVIOR
AT DAY CARE
By Fiona Lohrenz
METHODS FOR HANDLING CHILD BEHAVIOR
A healthy, safe environment in a pre-school can facilitate children's needs by developing necessary skills to develop their social and behavioral milestones. Taking turns, politeness, sharing and making choices are the ordinary preschool activities that offer opportunities for the development of these milestones.
Methods of developing self-discipline in children include:
- Instead of praising the child, praise the behavior.
- Encouraging and building a child's self esteem.
- Take into account a child's age and stage of development when setting limits.
- Using play and games with rules to help the child learn and understand boundaries.
- Children will imitate adult behavior so lead by example.
- Avoiding isolation and humiliation of children.
- When you say 'No'... mean it. Consistency is key.
- Clarifying expectations and rules of behavior.
- Always reward good behavior.
Self-direction, self-control, cooperation and self-esteem will be encouraged should day care workers use these positive methods of discipline. On the other hand, using the following as a means of correction is never acceptable:
- Any physical restraint, biting, hitting or shaking.
- Never humiliate, threaten or isolate a child - such emotional punishment is unacceptable.
- Never deprive a child of food.
Unacceptable behaviors i.e. bullying and temper tantrums should be dealt with using a range of strategies. Methods which have proven successful include:
- Remove the child from the situation or distraction techniques.
- Telling the child why the behavior will not be tolerated.
- Offering the child an opportunity to regain control and become calm.
Biting falls into the category of difficult behavior and your range of approaches for dealing with said behavior would apply to this unsavory activity also. Children who display challenging behavior should have, with the involvement of parents and caregivers, a work plan developed specifically for them. Parents should be included, informed and supported to follow work plans for children, if and when appropriate. Sometimes it is necessary to seek additional support in the form of outside specialists. Where necessary additional support may be sought by referral to other professionals. This is not a negative thing and should be supported by parents and provider and a positive way forward.
The childcare worker should be supported to work on a one to one basis with a child who may be biting or displaying other challenging behavior over an agreed period of time. The aim being that the carer would attempt to extend the child's interests by specifically engaging them in activities thus avoiding the difficult behaviors. Difficult and challenging behaviors, both in adults and children, respond positively to calm, constructive, consistent actions. Calm, constructive, consistent actions are essentially the most effective method of counteracting challenging behavior. Be patient, be vigilant, stick to your guns and you will win out!
Owning and operating a day care for 10 years provides Fiona Lohrenz with lots of material for her child care articles. Not to mention her childcare website and DVD guide to Starting a Child Care business at www.startchildcare.com.
This article was submitted by Fiona Lohrenz for electronic reproduction on www.moondragon.org April 20, 2008. Thank you Fiona for your contribution.
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