Children that are new to a daycare environment are just learning which behaviors are socially acceptable and how to manage their natural impulse to react physically to events that frustrate or anger them.
Preschool teachers can help children learn which behaviors are socially acceptable by:
- Modeling positive conflict resolution and non-physical problem solving
- Encouraging and praising children's attempts to use good conflict resolution and problem solving
- Helping children develop vocabulary necessary to describe feelings, needs and frustrations
- Redirecting children away from inappropriate choices and toward appropriate choices
- Offering opportunities in the program to practice social skills such as problem solving, cooperation, turn taking, and sharing
In addition, many accidents, child behavior challenges and inappropriate guidance issues can be avoided by providing a program that is rich in interesting and engaging activities. Spend some time in each childcare center looking for the following:
- Does the staff engage the children in positive and supportive conversations?
- Are gentle interactions used to redirect children to good choices?
- Are teachers at child eye level and use children's names when addressing them?
- Is there a variety of things for the children to do throughout the day?
- Is there a balance of active and quiet activities?
- Are there large group, small group and individual activities?
- Are transitions well managed and is enough time allowed for transitions between activities so that children do not feel either rushed or bored?
- Is there a variety in the equipment in the classroom?
- Are there enough things in the classroom for children to make choices?
- Are there duplicates of extremely popular toys?
- Does the room arrangement allow for large and small group play?
- Does the room arrangement allow for quiet and active areas?
- Are materials within the children's reach and easy for them to put away?
- Are the planned activities implemented? Are activities presented in a way that engages the children?
- Do the teachers appear to enjoy the activities alongside the children?
- Are the activities challenging but not frustrating?
- Do the activities allow for a variety of developmental levels?
Positive guidance, one of the major components of respectful practice, begins long before any challenging behaviors arise. In fact, the work daycare providers do to prevent challenging behaviors is an important part of the guidance strategy.