Shifting How we Manage Challenging Behaviors: Try Taking a Proactive Approach
Being proactive is an excellent way to decrease behaviors in the learning environment. Using a proactive approach means that you are essentially preventing behaviors from occurring by eliminating the triggers of those behaviors. Of course, you will not be able to proactively prevent all behaviors, but every little bit helps, right?
Begin by considering the physical environment.
- Are there spaces or learning centers that become overcrowded? If so, enlarge the space by adjusting the shelves.
- Are there popular materials that draw children’s interest? If so, make sure you have enough of those materials to go around.
- Are materials that children need to access easy to get to? If not, rearrange some of the furniture to make the space more accessible.
Next, think about the daily routine.
- Are there times of day when you have noticed an uptick in challenging behaviors? If so, attempt to determine whether the children would benefit from an adjustment to the daily schedule; perhaps they need more time to eat their snack or get their coats on for outdoor play.
- Consider how you are feeling at certain points of the day. Are there times when you feel rushed? Are there times you wish you could be more present for the children? Create a plan to address these concerns. If you have a second person working with you, brainstorm how to better divvy up responsibilities so everyone feels fully present.
Consider the children in the group.
- Are you familiar with their skills and abilities? If not, how will do you plan to get to know the children? Can you speak with a teacher who worked with the children previously? Can you set up brief interviews with the families, or gather that information through a survey?
- Are you aware of any children who may need extra support or attention during the transition to the learning environment? Work with colleagues and the child’s family to create a plan of action to help the child succeed.
- Are you aware of the children’s interests? Identify activities and conversations you can pursue during the first weeks of the new school year that will help you get to know children on a more personal level.
Reflect on the curriculum and the way that you plan activities for children.
- Do you follow a scripted curriculum plan or co-create the curriculum with the children? Think about ways that you can use what you know about the children’s interests to create more engaging curriculum experiences. If you are able to tailor the curriculum to the children’s strengths, needs, and interests, you can prevent behaviors that sometimes stem from boredom and frustration.
- How can you integrate important self-regulation skills into the curriculum activities that you present to children? Be sure to recognize each child as a unique learner. Not every child comes to the environment with the same skills. Blanket expectations for every child in the group may cause more harm than good. Modify and adapt expectations and activities as necessary.
Reflecting on these areas of your program can help you identify areas where shifts can be made to prevent behaviors and engage children more deeply.
For the main article Shifting How we Manage Challenging Behaviors, CLICK HERE
For the article Try Viewing Behavior in a New Light, CLICK HERE
For the article Try Rethinking Transitions, CLICK HERE
For the article Try Creating Consistency between Home & School, CLICK HERE