Dealing with Transitions & Behavior Issues in a Positive Manner for Both Teachers and Parents

Transitions

1. Allow extra time so you don't have stress. Kids see stress.

2. Routine - follow a daily routine.

3. Prepare for changes - give warnings or alerts of change. Ask how they feel about the change. "Wow, switching rooms and teachers" - what do you think? What is your new teacher's name? Do you know where your new room is?

4. Natural consequences - let their behavior = their natural consequences. You don't wear your jackets, you will be cold. So, when they go out without their jacket and they're cold, they will learn and remember.

5. Use real and positive consequences  -- if you put your jacket on and leave pre-school, we will have time to stop at the park.

6. Positive reinforcement - Thank your child for good behaviors. Use praise to let your child know what a good job they did.

7. Choices - Kids want control and independence - offer choices. Ex: If you don't get ready then we can't go to the park. Don't use material items or money for positive reinforcement. It should be a fun activity or time spent with a friend. Don't offer too many choices, it confuses the child and sets them up for failure. Two choices is fine.

8. To lower frustrations for kids that don't transition well, use an activity schedule board so they predict what happens next. Example: Outside play - have a visual (picture) of a playground on a schedule board. Show the picture a few minutes before they go outside so the child knows what's next - the child can see the board all day to know what to expect - the schedule board should have the schedule written and a picture and then a done portion so when outside is done - have the child put the visual on the board in the done column. Visuals work well for kids. They understand visuals, it helps make it fun and works well for kids with developmental delays.

Dealing with Behavior

Adults lose the behavior battle by engaging in two different responses that make a child continue their behavior.

1. The adult gets angry

2. They debate the child

Children want control and for an adult to engage in a power struggle with a child is a lose - lose situation.

1. Don't take what the child does personally - it's a game for the child. The child does the opposite you ask to prove they have control.

2. When a child misbehaves and asks WHY? Don't say "BECAUSE" - this shows them you will debate and that means you lost the battle

3. You need to take away the motivation from a child to continue the battle

Other reasons kids misbehave and ways to solve it:

1. Does the child understand? A lot of times a teacher/parent will instruct a child to do something. The truth is the child won't understand and will do an action that seems like bad behavior but it's not the case: Ex: Clean the toys up in the classroom - the child isn't sure exactly how to do this so he/she throws all the toys in the closet. The teacher gets mad. Solution: Be specific and detailed. Tell the child you want the room clean and then explain how. Where do you want everything? This leaves no room for miscommunication or not understanding.

2. The child doesn't listen and/or doesn't believe you - this means you as the teacher/parent haven't:

Followed thru - no consistency

Too many warnings - no consequences

The child has learned that the adult will take care of it - you have done most of the cleaning up for them and haven't expected enough

The child has learned that they don't have to follow directions.  Are you consistent with only specific activities or kids? The action has to be the same for everyone.

Children act out because you ignore them - kids in preschool need your attention, warmth, caring, routine and security.

Children repeat your behavior - what type of role model are you? The teacher/parent needs to be a good role model. Watch your behavior and how you say things. Children respond to your tone of voice. If you constantly yell and scream, the child will not respect any other type of voice. So, when you speak quietly or at a normal tone they won't listen or respect that voice. You're teaching a child that he/she needs to be yelled at to be recognized.

Basic needs - if a child's basic needs aren't met - you're fighting a no-win situation. Even if they misbehave - deal with the basics first: Did they eat? Did they take a nap? Diaper needs to be changed or do they have to go potty? Are they sick? Are they in pain? Is a child in emotional distress? If parents are fighting or any other stressors are going on, this can cause bad behavior- if the behavior is new - ask the parents if anything stressful is going on in their lives.

Media can cause issues too - too much violent movies video games, etc. Handle these issues first

Motivating a child

The teacher/parent must be the leader - be in control. Don't ask a child for permission - tell the child what they are to do. Use clear, brief directions.

Example:

Wrong: Do you want to take a nap now?

Right: We are taking nap in 5 minutes

Then: It's nap time

A child can also learn by natural consequences such as it's cold outside - put your jacket on. The child says no - let them out w/o the jacket and the child will be cold and learn the hard way. EX: a child breaks a toy - throw the toy away and do not replace the toy - natural consequence is they can't play with their toy anymore and it won't be replaced.

Typical consequences for bad behavior:

Loss of a toy

No computer time or TV

Time out

Loss of a desired activity

No dessert

For consequence to work it has to be followed ASAP. Don't keep saying next time or in an hour or when the other teacher comes back. A consequence shouldn't be too severe or cause fear. If it is a time-out, they need to know where the time out is, the chair they will sit in, etc. A consequence cannot be humiliating - don't scream and yell in a way that embarrasses them. No inconsistent behavior from the teacher - you can't say - wait till next time or do it again and you will be in big trouble

The consequence needs to make sense - it can' t be: Don't make me angry because. Listen to me because I'm the teacher, etc. This shows anger but not consequence and this makes the child think they can get away with it.

Reward good behavior

Rewards should not be too large, complex or expensive. A reward should have an educational value: Praise, a sticker that says good job, well done, etc. A desired activity, a good learning toy, tokens - star program

Rewards need to be given ASAP - right after good behavior

Don't bribe bad behavior using positive reinforcement - you reinforce the bad behavior instead. Bribes teach kids that they can get what they want.

Behavior Modification = Goal Sheet

Set up a goal sheet for each child - don't try to change more then 2-3 behaviors or it becomes to confusing. Then decide on which behaviors. Decide on the reward (specific to a child's wants). Decide if the reward is weekly or daily.

Review the behavior and the sheet at the same time everyday - this sets up consistency and routine. Set up how the child will write or color on the goal sheet if the behavior is good or bad. Ex: If you're good - you color in red or put a star sticker.

At the end of the week, if the child meets his goals, he gets a reward - a small reward. If the child is good for a month then you can take down the goal sheet or switch the behavior. All positive reinforcement has to be specific to a child for it to work. The teacher needs to know the child's likes, interests, hobbies and strengths. The easiest way is a bucket full of various rewards so there will be something each child likes.

TRIGGERS

When a behavior signals a red flag and you want to figure out why. Record the behavior in a journal. What triggers it? Is it chronic? Is it something specific? What happens after the trigger?

Example: I had a very shy/introverted child in my pre-school class. He used to hit his classmates. I had the teacher record the behavior. The trigger was a specific toy. Every time the child wanted the toy but couldn't get his turn - he would hit the classmate who had the toy.

After you figure out the behavior, then you need to take the place of the offending behavior. Teach the child a new behavior. EX: Instead off hitting the classmates, teach the child to come to you (teacher) and let you know what's wrong. Reward the behavior every time he tells you and doesn't hit. Make a goal chart so the child can see his accomplishment. Make a copy for the parents so they can follow with praise and any other positive reinforcement.

Provide a predictable daily routine - all kids like/need structure and routine to feel safe and comfortable. The littlest change can set off a tantrum. Set up daily events that happen at the same time every day.

Same arrival time

Same nap time, lunch time, story time, etc.

Create a routine - every time before snack and lunch, they wash their hands, etc. Always set clear routines, schedules, rules, et.c - the first few weeks of school. This will help reduce in appropriate behavior.

Foster self-esteem and growth - if a child feels frustrated or embarrassed they can react inappropriately and aggressively. How? Let a child start an activity that you know they will be successful at. Let the child do the activity, see the result, feel good about it - give the child positive praise. This will help the child to build self-esteem, see a sense of accomplishment and feel good about themselves. Then after they successfully completed an activity - move on to the next challenge.

Dealing with Anger - If a child is being aggressive and/or violent like tantrums, screaming, yelling, hitting the wall, throwing things, etc., allow them to get their frustration out by:

Building a tower and knocking it down.

Squeezing playdoh or foam, punching bag in the classroom.

Distraction/pre-occupying - use something they like to distract their negative behavior. This works for some kids but not all. This doesn't work if a child is extreme or is chronically showing bad behavior. If it's extreme and frequent - is it a behavior disability? Is it signs of abuse at home?

Behavior issues - Rules

1. Anticipate the behavior - if a child's basic needs are not met it will be a no-win situation. If a child is hungry, tired, sick, pain - let it go. If not, you will never win the battle and you are setting the child up for failure. Solve the basic needs problem first and sometimes this gets rid of the negative behavior. Also - what are they eating? Is it a nutrition problem? Too much sugar? Caffeine? Dyes in their drinks? Etc.

2. Have a child follow a routine at school. This will help avoid the basic needs problems. It will make a child feel safe, less confused and cared for. A structured day helps with transitions. It also sets a child up for real life situations.

3. NO - if using the word NO as a teacher - only use it if you mean it and will stick to it. This means you as the teacher need to be aware of when you say NO. Stick to your decisions - consistency

4. Never berate the child out loud or in public for long periods of time. This causes humiliation, embarrassment but doesn't work to fix the behavior. This also causes guilt for the teacher/parent later and then you are more prone to give in to a child's manipulation.

Developmentally Appropriate Practices - Guidelines for early childhood educators for all children with or without disabilities

1. Activities should be mixed with different activities for all developmental domains (such as cognitive, motor skills, social/emotional, communication)

2. Children's interests and progress should be identified by the teacher. The teacher should know their kids in the classroom and be aware of their interests, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses.

3. The environment should motivate a child to explore and interact with others. A friendly, safe environment. Kids at this age need warmth, caring, empathy, sympathy and nurturing. A variety of activities and toys should be involved so a child doesn't get bored and/or frustrated.

4. Create a supportive physical environment - arrange equipment and group areas so that students can move easily from one activity to another so they don't get confused. Don't make the walls and billboards too distracting - keep it simple.

5. Set up different areas to accommodate different types of activities such as quiet time, nap time, circle time, arts and crafts, etc. Have a mix of loud, interactive and moving around activities mixed in with quiet activities (not nap time) like story time.

6. Learning should be fun. The activities and toys should be real and relevant to their age.

7. When the children understand an activity - the challenge should be increased.

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