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Positive Guidance Strategies

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Positive Guidance Strategies Raising Children Network

Behaviour management can be challenging sometimes, with energetic toddlers and young children eager to explore their physical and social environment. The following article provides positive guidance strategies and is how Educators can implement them within the learning environment.

Get To Know Your Learners

Since prevention is better than cure, getting to know the children in your care might prepare you better to nip behavioural challenges in the bud. Set aside some time every day to talk and listen to each learner. Observe carefully to understand what interests or frustrates them and which conditions are likely to lead to confusion, annoyance and exhaustion. Eventually, you will be better able to predict and prepare for disruptive behaviours.

Set Rules And Expectations

The core of positive guidance strategies is the way rules and directions are framed; negative phrases like No Shouting are replaced with positive directions, like, Speak Softly. It is a common misconception that positive guidance completely does away with rules and uses only positive reinforcement. Instead, rules are few, clear and consistently enforced. At the same time, make sure that there are no unrealistic expectations from the learners. Activities and tasks should be age appropriate and based on the skills and abilities of the children. Unrealistic expectations set learners up for failure, the natural consequence of which is frustration and bad behaviour.

Learning Environment

The right learning environment is extremely important to facilitate positive guidance. So you might want to keep in mind the following:

  • Organize the materials in such a way that they can be easily accessed by children.
  • For popular toys like trucks and dolls, keep duplicates in case more than one child wants to play with them; in case duplicates are not possible, use redirection and turn-taking.
  • Arrange for the classroom to be both noisy and quiet areas; a tent or bean bag with soft surfaces can function as a calm zone whenever a child needs some time out.
  • A useful way to minimize classroom disruptions is to alternate high-energy and calming activities.

Positive Reinforcement

This is a fundamental principle of positive guidance which involves encouraging desirable behaviour through praise or attention. So if a child does not settle down during story reading time, avoid giving attention to their antics or tumbles; instead, praise students who focus on their story and when the child in question, does the same, offer warm praise for paying attention. This is because children increase any behaviour they get attention for.

Offer Choices

Everyone likes to have some control over their lives and children are no different. Offer children positive, age-appropriate choices and then accept their decisions. For example, if a child refuses to clean up after art time, ask them which area would they like to tidy up. Follow up with praise and guidance, if needed.

Teach Essential Life Skills

Very often negative behaviours arise not out of a desire to be disruptive but simply because the child does not know better. Plan for the daily curriculum to teach communication and interpersonal skills so that learners are able to work effectively with each other. Model problem-solving for children and practise the steps with them so that they know how to use their own resources to find solutions, instead of giving way to frustration and bad behaviour.

Further Reading

  • Descriptive Words For Children's Behaviour - As Educators, there will be many instances where you will need to write about a child's behaviour. For a behaviour management plan, assessments, half-yearly or yearly reports and more.  The following lists of descriptive words and their meaning can be used to describe a child's behaviour.

  • Talking To Parents About Their Child's Behaviour Issues - It's always difficult to bring up behavioural issues with parents, it can be nerve-wracking to tell a parent that their child misbehaves but that shouldn't stop you from doing it. The following provides information for Educators on how to talk to parents about their child's behavioural issues.

  • Stages Of Behaviour - The following lists the stages and ages of behaviour and strategies to support children at each age. 

  • Supporting Children With Challenging Behaviour - Challenging Behaviour is when a child does something that hurts themselves and/or other people. The following article provides information and strategies for supporting children with challenging behaviour. 

Planning for Positive Guidance: Powerful Interactions Make a Difference, NAEYC

Created On May 31, 2023 Last modified on Monday, May 29, 2023
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