Many of you have just conferenced with your child’s teacher and have seen the component within that is a behavioral checklist. This serves as an assessment of the behaviors we see at Academy and may help parents and teachers discuss the cause or function of the behavior. Once the underlying issue is identified, we can better address the undesired outcomes. Young children can often act out of control because that is exactly how they’re feeling. As an example, if a 2 year old boy swings his hand at peers when they are nearing the center where he is playing, we need to help him to identify his feeling of worry. Worry that someone will knock down his tower or perhaps that there aren’t enough of that toy to share. We can then provide him with the tools he needs to resolve this conflict. We show children how to share, take turns, or sign the word stop. We may even change the center to include more of that item. Some children, even older children, after identifying the emotion may have a hard time carrying out the desired behavior “in the moment.” It is important for us to teach replacement behaviors that are realistic. If a child gets crying mad and frustrated over someone not following the rules we can’t expect them to automatically have a calm conversation about fair game play. That child may need to be taught it is okay to walk away and get a drink at the water fountain in order to cool off. If we all examine these behaviors as objectively as possible, it can help us approach them as teachable moments and also will serve to preserve our relationships with the child. (They really didn’t do it just to make you mad!)
Enjoy your children!