Dealing with Child Behavior Problems at Your Center
If you have worked a long time in child care, you know that it’s commonplace to experience behavior problems in the classroom. After working over 10 years at a child care center, I truly believe that most behavior problems are signs of a child developing and growing. However, sometimes they go beyond this and need to be handled with love and grace in order for you to provide quality child care services.
All humans go from babies (completely reliant on their parents) to adults (not reliant on anyone else). This process is hard, especially when you are gaining some freedom along the way.
As a child enters the age of 2, we begin to see this transition. They want to do everything themselves and yet they cannot. This is a very hard process for children and where I believe much of the behavior problems come from.
The first step in dealing effectively with behavior problems is finding a place of compassion and understanding for these children. The best way to do this is to study child development. This is why it is so important to make sure that if you are the leader of your center that you are educating your team. For more information on child development check out this link.
Now that we have some understanding, I am going to walk you through my process for dealing with child behavior problems.
*Disclaimer: All children are unique, however this process should work for most incidents that you come across. Here we go...
1. Communicate Expectations
I have seen this done wrong so many times. Teachers have rules for their children that they have never been fully communicated. Please make sure that the children in your classroom know your class rules.
This is a fun activity depending on the age group as well. Talk about the rules and write them on a poster board. I love to post the class rules on the wall.
Sandbox Tip: Take a photo of your rules poster and send it via the Parent Portal. Parents love to be in the loop.
2. Be Consistent
If you are consistent, everything changes. Love and Logic says “Turn your word into gold”. If your rule states “No standing during circle time” then enforce that rule.
Make sure that you are holding each child accountable. Pause for a second, think back to the child development mentioned above. Make sure that your rules and consequences match the appropriate age group.
When a child is having trouble in the classroom it is very important to document it. Do this sooner than you think. This may be a note on the daily report or a note in the child’s file to start.
Make sure you keep a copy on file just in case the issue doesn’t go away. You will want to ensure you have written documentation later on.
Sandbox Tip: I use the Notes section in the child’s profile for this. The Notes are private from the parents and they can’t get lost like paper forms.
4. Communicate with the Parents
Make sure that you keep parents in the loop early on. The worst thing for a parent is to be blindsided by their child's bad behavior and that their child is getting removed from the classroom.
Document early and share this with the parent. A daily report is a great first step, then move to an incident report and so forth.
Sandbox Tip: Daily logs are a great use for this communication.
5. Know when to ‘bring it up the ladder’
Sometimes there are behavioral problems that cannot be resolved inside the classroom. At this point, it can make sense to bring a Director in the loop.
They may want to set up a meeting with the family or continue to keep an eye on it. Either way, as a teacher you should only deal with it alone for so long. Ask for help!
It is never easy to handle children with behavioral problems, but when you follow a simple process they can be managed well. When you follow this simple process you can breathe easier knowing that if one step doesn’t work, there is always the next.
For more information on how to use Sandbox for behavior problems or documentation, send me a message here! I’d love to hear from you and customize my advice to best fit your center.