Behavior Issues in the Preschool
do children manifest inappropriate behaviors?
In a preschool classroom one can observe a wide variety of behaviors ranging from appropriate behaviors with children seeking approval from adults and peers to hitting, use of inappropriate language, toileting accidents, refusal to share, temper tantrums etc. In order for us as teachers to help the children, we need to have an understanding of why children behave in a certain manner. Essa (1990) has outlined the following probable causes:
Social learning: This is where children
learn from the environment. Inappropriate
behavior maybe as a result of limited social learning, or being reinforced for
developmental expectations of children
issues and allergies
needs and sensitivity to stimulation
changes and stress
messages and lack of clear guidelines
to deal with misbehavior?
It is very important to guide the child through episodes of inappropriate behavior. Educators suggest a wide variety of techniques. Some of the techniques that I have used with relative success are listed below:
Positive reinforcement is
an important part of changing a child’s behavior.
One should however use it carefully and at the opportune moment.
When using positive reinforcement I would recommend the use of intrinsic
motivators versus extrinsic or materialistic motivators.
behaviors of children can be dealt with by ignoring them, but at the same time
monitoring the child. By ignoring
the child we are letting the child know that this particular behavior does not
warrant any attention, but at the same token we will look forward to a more
Self-selected time out:
when children loose self-control and indulge in misbehavior, one can talk to the
children and find out what they feel are the precussors to them losing
self-control. So then you can let
the kids know that if they feel like they are going to loose their self-control
they let you know and maybe you can let them be by themselves for awhile. But be sure and monitor the child who is in the self-selected
like the self-selected time out, if you notice that certain activities of tasks
causes the child to misbehave you may want to be around to help the child
through the frustrating experience.
the child’s attention on another task or activity to get his/her focus away
from the stimulant.
Whole group or individual discussion:
if the misbehavior is affecting the whole class it is useful to have a class
discussion about it. Then you could
also ask the children for solutions and how to deal with the issue.
Special one-on-one time with the child:
children tend to misbehave because they feel that this is the only way to get
adult attention. Quality time with
children you know do not get this time will help them realize that they do not
have to misbehave to get your attention.
Whatever the misbehavior might be try to have a plan up your sleeve to handle it. It is sometimes helpful to create an action form that includes:
for the behavior
that you used
documentation will also be helpful to you if you need to get more help or talk
to the parents or your supervisor about it.
The format of the above documentation can also vary depending on the
misbehavior or each child. You
could also include a copy of this in the child’s portfolio.