How to Deal with Challenging Behavior in a Supportive and Effective Way

Are there times when children in your classroom exhibit behavior that interferes with their development and learning?  Can their behavior sometimes prevent other children in the classroom from learning? Could it even be dangerous?  Then these children – even those who usually exhibit positive behavior – are displaying challenging behavior.  As a teacher this can be frustrating!  It is important to understand the reasons for inappropriate behavior and have the classroom management tools to promote prosocial or “helping” behaviors such as sharing, cooperating, helping and empathy (having feelings for others).

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Professional Development Resource

One successful teaching strategy that’s been used to help guide students’ behavior is the Supportive Guidance Approach.  Teachers who use the Supportive Guidance Approach are warm and caring, but also set limits on children’s behaviors and guide them to more appropriate behaviors.

Some suggested techniques of the Supportive Guidance Approach include:

  1. Encouraging children to use words to resolve their differences.  Help them articulate what it is they need or want rather than strike out by hitting or crying when they are frustrated or upset.
  2. Redirecting inappropriate behaviors that children may use by focusing the children on another activity or interest.
  3. Modeling the behaviors you want the children to show in the classroom.  Encourage other adults interacting with the children to also model good behaviors.

Highly Successful Strategies to Guide Young Children’s Behavior, a professional development DVD, takes place in real classrooms and shows proven supportive guidance techniques to foster positive prosocial behavior and self-regulation in the early childhood classroom.

In addition to supportive guidance techniques, this program also illustrates classroom management techniques to reduce inappropriate behaviors.  Powerful recommendations include:

  1. Organizing spaces in an orderly fashion and allowing enough room for children to move about.
  2. Pacing activities and levels of instruction to the age and interests of the students.
  3. Limiting transitions and being clear about moving from one activity to the next.
  4. Providing adequate physical activity.

Highly Successful Strategies to Guide Young Children’s Behavior features a diverse group of teachers demonstrating specific methods to deal with an assortment of inappropriate behaviors in the early childhood classroom.  A manual included with the DVD provides teachers with discussion activities and the opportunity to reflect on their own classroom guidance practices.

Additional Supportive Resources

Another challenge faced by teachers today is the rigidity of the classroom schedule. All too often, the children have been sitting still for far too long.  You may notice that many students get fidgety and start to behave inappropriately (even those that normally exhibit good behavior).  It’s important to integrate regular movement breaks throughout the day to help your students stay focused and on track.

Sometimes your students just need a little mental break.  A good mindfulness practice in the classroom is handy to have.  Play some music specifically developed for rest, relaxation and meditation .  Ask your students to relax, breathe and use the music to inspire pictures in their head.


Posted in Music & Movement, Professional Development, Social & Emotional Behavior, What's New Tagged with: , ,

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