Little Red Hen

Centre for Early Childhood Care and Education
8 Lower Shantalla Road Galway
Telephone: 091 86 26 16
Mobile: 087 332 92 76

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Behaviour Management

Behaviour Management

"Children are not little adults and it is difficult for them to behave in a manner which we, as adults, would deem appropriate"

Following are some of the behaviour management strategies we use:

  • Distract the child.  If a child repeatedly takes a toy from another child ask him or her if they will come and help with another task.  This will take both parties out of the negative situation. This strategy may not work with older children.
  • Redirect a situation where tension is building up.
  • We cannot "force" a child to share.  If a child is playing with something another child wants we encourage the second child to ask the first child can they play with it "after".
  • We never "force" a child to apologize.  An apology is meaningless unless it is internally motivated.
  • Encourage children to sort out their own differences without running to an adult - this is a valuable tool and will stay with them all their lives.
  • Adults never take sides, judge or assign blame - even if we know exactly what has happened.  We are always independent. Encourage both sides to explain what happened and give the children time to work out a compromise.
  • If an older child is aware that a particular behaviour is unacceptable and yet they persist they must be presented with options and consequences.  E.g. "If you smack Peter with the doll I will have to put the dolls on the top shelf until after lunch.  But if you don't hit Peter with the dolls anymore you can play with the dolls now.  Which would you like to do?" This is quite complicated to a small child and believe it or not, they may have to think about it for a few minutes!  And remember, hold to what you say.
  • Monitor and change the child's environment regularly - often fights or arguments break out because the children are bored or frustrated - activities are too easy or too difficult for them.
  • Try to ignore negative behaviour as much as possible and focus on positive behaviour.  For example, if Billy will not put his books away after himself, leave the books there and praise Bobby, for putting his books away.  Billy will want some of that praise!
  • Monitor where and when arguments break out.  Maybe there is a problem with that particular area and it may need to be rearranged.  Maybe children are hungry or tired at that time and lunch or nap time may need to be changed.