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Christine Curphey

Strategies to Assist With Challenging Behaviours in Early Childhood Education and Care Settings

  • July 24, 2023

One of the most significant challenges faced by early childhood education and care providers is dealing with challenging behaviours of children. These behaviours can include tantrums, hitting, yelling, biting, and other disruptive behaviours. It is essential to have strategies in place to help manage these behaviours effectively, ensure a safe learning environment and to promote positive interactions and social-emotional development in children. Here are some strategies to assist in dealing with these challenging behaviours:

Understand the behaviour.

Understanding why a child is behaving in a particular way is an essential step to dealing with challenging behaviours. Observing and documenting the events that lead to the inappropriate behaviour helps to identify triggers and possible underlying issues.

Communicate with parents or caregivers.

Engaging with parents or caregivers with a child who is struggling with their behaviour, is crucial in finding a resolution. Discussing observations, discussing ways to support the child and how to deal with the behaviour in a consistent manner is essential for a smoother transition.

Promote positive reinforcement.

Reinforcing positive behaviours helps to promote them while also encouraging children to understand the appropriate behaviour. Recognising and praising a child when they display positive behaviour or finding alternative ways to distract the child when their behaviour becomes inappropriate.

Use visual aids.

Using visual aids like picture schedules and other visual aids is an excellent way to help young children understand routine, transitions and help them be more confident.

Redirect the child’s behaviour.

Redirecting disruptive behaviour is an alternative approach. For example, suggesting play alternatives for the child or encouraging participation in new play activities.

Establish consistent boundaries.

Young children thrive on routine, clear expectations and limits, and consistent structures that help them to feel safe and secure. It’s important to post clear rules and expectations and discuss these guidelines with the parents, children and additional educators.

Encourage self-regulation

Develop self-regulation practices that teach children how to manage their emotions and work on improving their self-control.

In conclusion, challenging behaviours in young children are common, but early childhood education and care providers can use these strategies to help manage and minimise them. By providing a safe and supportive environment, encouraging positive reinforcement, and establishing clear boundaries, children can learn how to regulate their behaviours and begin to develop the skills necessary for their social-emotional development.

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