Dealing with Challenging Day Care Behavior

By: Rene Sandan

A healthy, safe environment in a pre-school can facilitate children's needs by developing necessary skills to develop their social and behavioral milestones. Ordinary pre-school activities offer opportunities for this e.g. taking turns, sharing, politeness and making choices.
Methods of developing self-discipline in children include: %u2022 Praising the behavior rather than the child %u2022 Encouraging and building a child's self esteem %u2022 Setting limits according to the child's age and stage of development %u2022 Using play and games with rules to help the child learn and understand boundaries %u2022 Adults leading by example as children imitate behavior %u2022 Avoiding isolation and humiliation of children %u2022 Being consistent - saying 'No' and meaning 'No' %u2022 Clarifying expectations and rules of behavior %u2022 Reinforcing positive behavior at all times i.e. display painting, rewards etc %u2022 Reinforcing positive behavior at all times i.e. display painting, rewards etc Self-direction, self-control, cooperation and self-esteem will be encouraged should day care workers use these positive methods of discipline. On the other hand, using the following as a means of correction is never acceptable: %u2022 Any physical restraint, biting, hitting or shaking %u2022 Never humiliate, threaten or isolate a child- such emotional punishment is unacceptable %u2022 Never deprive a child of food Unacceptable behaviors i.e. bullying and temper tantrums should be dealt with using a range of strategies. Methods which have proven successful include: %u2022 Remove the child from the situation or distraction techniques %u2022 Telling the child why the behavior will not be tolerated %u2022 Offering the child an opportunity to regain control and become calm Biting falls into the category of difficult behavior and your range of approaches for dealing with said behavior would apply to this unsavory activity also. Children who display challenging behavior should have, with the involvement of parents and carers, a work plan developed specifically for them. Parents should be included, informed and supported to follow work plans for children, if and when appropriate. Sometimes it is necessary to seek additional support in the form of outside specialists. Where necessary additional support may be sought by referral to other professionals. This is not a negative thing and should be supported by parents and provider and a positive way forward.
A specific child care worker should, over a set period of time, be supported to work on a one to one basis with a child displaying aggressive or challenging behavior. The aim being that the carer would attempt to extend the child's interests by specifically engaging them in activities thus avoiding the difficult behaviors. Calm, constructive, consistent actions are essentially the most effective method of counteracting challenging behaviors. Remembering this, cooperating with parents and seeing work plans through will result in success.

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Her daycare business of 10 years qualifies Fiona Lohrenz to write childcare articles on her website plus produce a 'Start a ChildCare Business' DVD guide: Start A Day Care Business DVD You can find out more at:

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