Many times when children enter our infant/toddler or preschool program, it is the first time that they have been away from their parents, or have been expected to function as a part of a group with other young children. It may also be a time when expectations, routines, and structure change dramatically. Entering an early childhood program is a wonderful opportunity for children to further develop their social and emotional competence. Young children need support and guidance from the adults around them, and most importantly, their parents. Effective guidance combines both building self-esteem and social competence, and providing clear indication of what is okay and what is not okay.
When it comes to guiding behavior, it is especially important that there be a cooperative partnership between staff and parents. It is important that parents feel supported and open to communication with CHILD, Inc. staff around what may be difficult and sensitive situations regarding children’s behavior.
Some of the effective strategies and techniques that we use for guiding behavior at CHILD, Inc. include:
- Predictable outcomes
- Offering adequate preparation and time for transitions.
- Clear, consistent, realistic expectations for behavior, with logical and natural consequences for misbehavior
- Offering reassurance during stressful or frustrating situations
- Knowing and understanding individual children well, including their “hot spots.”
- Positively redirecting children to avoid potential difficulties.
- Offering different ways that children can express their emotions (physical activity, play dough, etc.)
- Providing many opportunities for children to feel successful.
- Teaching and modeling strategies for dealing with frustrations.
- Offering children choices and control over their environment where appropriate.
If your child is behaving in a way that concerns you, either at home or at school, it is important that you work together with CHILD, Inc. staff to make a plan for appropriately handling the behavior. Children benefit greatly when there are consistent expectations for their behavior both at home and at school, and when parents and teachers are working cooperatively to respond to their needs.