All children display undesirable behavior at some time. The ability to manage young children’s behavior in a positive manner is often challenging and complex; however, the effective guidance of young children requires a patient and nurturing care giver who understands the tasks of children at various ages, is aware that normal young children are naturally curious, active and impulsive, and recognizes that the main goals of positive management are to assist children to develop responsibility, to learn and develop skills to control themselves, and to take responsibility for their own behavior.
• The skill to positively manage young children often requires that care givers/providers make some important shifts in their thinking about managing children. Some of these shifts in thinking and practice are:
• Set long term goals for the children in our care beyond the short term goal of keeping peace – Long term goals of helping children to develop responsibility for their own behavior.
• Recognize that a change in a child’s behavior usually occurs when there is a change in the care giver/provider’s behavior or practice.
• Avoid engaging in power plays, struggles with children -YOU WILL LOSE AND SO WILL THE CHILD.
• Recognize that positive attitudes of encouragement, understanding, and respect by the care giver are the basic conditions for desirable behavior in children – Avoid the use of threats, put-downs, embarrassing statements, and criticisms to control children’s behavior.
• Keep in mind that children are social beings who have a need to belong and feel significant and important – Provide/create opportunities for children to share, to be independent, to be recognized, to receive praise, and to be involved in chores.
• Keep in mind that children are decision-makers – Create an environment where children are encouraged to make choices and are actively involved in planning activities for the day.
• Recognize that acting out behavior in young children is often related to their language development – Young children’s language capacity assists them to express their needs. Children may feel and express frustration when they have not yet developed the language to effectively communicate their wants and needs.
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