Managing Children’s Behavior

How to Manage Children’s Behavior:

managing behavior by building strong homes

Children need consistency, rules and routines to flourish. In short, all they need is a stable environment.

It sounds simple, it might be simple however it takes some work to establish that. Let us take a look at the framework for a stable environment whether it is a classroom or home.

Managing children’s behavior by building strong homes and classrooms:

  1.  Routine:

Consistency helps children know what to expect and know your expectations of them.

example: bedtime should be consistent, classroom schedule should be consistent

  • Of course, there may be changes and a need to tweak your schedule however it is something that should not happen often, such as you came home late from work and dinner and bedtime is running late. It happens don’t fret yet make sure it does not happen too often.
  • Help children by giving them a time frame. If it is almost bedtime, let the child know, ” five more minutes to play and then we have to go to sleep”, if it is clean up time or lunch time give the children the opportunity to transition smoothly by reminding them: ” We have 2 more minutes to play, after we play we clean up and then we have lunch.” This feeds into the children’s structure and they know what to expect.

2. Rules:

In order to establish a smooth running home or classroom, rules must be in place. It may be difficult to enforce in the beginning yet you need to be consistent and stick to them!

Remind children of the rules if they break them so that they get into the habit of following your rules. I prefer if teachers do not teach the first few weeks in school and work on establishing their routines and rules for this will establish a smooth classroom, with everyone knowing the expectations of them and therefore cutting out possible frustration and anger in the future.

  • If you see the same rule is constantly broken check to see if your expectation is not too much and too hard for children to fulfill.
  • Remind the rule especially in the beginning of establishing the rule:” When we come home we hang up our coats.” ” Remember, when we go outside to play we wait on line for our turn on the swings.”

3. Warm and caring relationship with the children:

Children want to please adults whom they feel care for them. If a child feels you want the best for them they will look to make you happy.

4. Home/ School Alignment

All adults in the child’s life should have the same goals. Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, however the general rule of thumb is the child should know if teacher said something mom will agree and vice versa. This holds true for at home as well. If dad said something mom should stand by dad, even though she disagrees. When the child is not around the two parties can discuss it further, however in front of the child they should seem in agreement.

I call it the “run to mom” effect. Many children know that majority of times mom is softer than dad, and if they do not like something they can ” run to mom” to complain or reverse dads decision. However it is important for the child to know they cannot manipulate mom or dad to change their mind.

This is true in a classroom as well. If one teacher says no to something the child wants to do, the other adult in the room, whether it is an aide, assistant or co teacher should respect the first teachers decision even though they might disagree. They can always visit the subject at a later time without the child present.

This builds structure in the child’s life and they see that there are rules to follow.

 5. Expectations

It is very important to take into consideration that all children are different and learn differently. When deciding on rules and routine you must take into consideration that one child may have an easy time  complying while another will find it difficult. It is not because they want to act out, yet because they either cannot accomplish that task, cannot sit so long etc.. therefore when you set rules take each child’s need into consideration.

Just like when you set bedtime in your house children should have different time depending on their age for each age group requires a differnt amount of time for sleep. The same holds true in your classroom.

Remember: ” fair is not equal and equal is not fair.”

Do not get upset when a child broke a rule first see if it is something they can follow.

Example: you require children to hang up their coats when they enter your home/ classroom. This is a reasonable request however you always note that Johnny dumps his coat on the floor near the hooks. You reviewed the rules with him and constantly remind him to hang up his coat and you know that you have a warm relationship with him yet he is still not complying. After further investigation you realize the hooks are too high for him to reach. It is not that he wants to dump them and make you upset!

This is a general framework to give the children the foundation to meet your expectations and follow classroom or household rules. Although it is not a guarantee to always work, for the majority of the children it works. Some children may need additional intervention or assistance.

In addition, while this framework may help on a day to day basis children are people with emotions. They may have had a difficult day and may not follow your rules one day. It does not mean that they are out to disobey they just may need some more attention and care. As long as you are providing a stable environment you are giving the children the tools to thrive.