Hi Stephanie and all -I love the many responses, as helping children with their behavior should take into consideration all contributions. So many times, it's tempting to look at the child only, when interactions of the adult(s) and aspects of the setting contribute to the behavior. We have to look at the whole child and his/her need for soothing from stress, for security and safety, and for a meaningful personal relationship with teachers. We need to consider whether the classroom is adequately stimulating to meet this particular child's learning needs. We especially need to keep expectations and routines consistent. Teachers need to evaluate skills that are needed for a behavior (e.g., communication, regulation, physical skill, and cognitive processing) and be able to support a child's emerging skills.
Children do the best they can with the skills they have. When they are tired, feel disconnected, or don't have something present to engage them meaningfully, they manage in the best way they can. Teachers can minimize power struggles by redirecting and engaging children in shared activities. The purpose of behavior guidance is to build children's skills. They are just gaining self-regulation and need preparation and support to be successful navigating transitions, change, and expectations.
There are very specific strategies teachers can use that are posted in the resource section of my website: www.mariemasterson.com. These handouts can be copied and shared freely. You'll find resources for families to show how much sleep, stress support, nutrition, and exercise children need. There are strategies for behavior guidance that are research-based and effective. Please stop by and download these resources.
Teaching is such hard work. Children's frustrations can be emotional triggers for teachers. I encourage viewing behavior guidance through the lens of skill building.Often comforting and validating feelings provide safety and encourage cooperative problem solving. "You are frustrated. What can I do to get you what you need?" Responses like this invite connection and ensure safety.
The resources and handouts will be a big help to teachers! Please print and share them! Three cheers to every teacher out there working hard to support children and their families.