POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR STRATEGIES:
We are more inclined to resist if someone tells us no. Sometimes when adults are frustrated with children’s behaviour they say no. Children resist and ask “Why?” The goal of the following strategies is to create cooperation and reduce resistance by replacing no and redirecting behaviour successfully.
1, The Make-A-Big Deal Strategy:
Practice noticing children behaving appropriately and then point it out to them.
“I saw you share blocks. That was thoughtful.”
“I heard you solving the problem by taking turns”
“I noticed you helping your friend.”
“You worked hard at putting the toys away.”
When we give attention, thanks, specific and effective recognition we tell children that we care and make them feel proud of their contributions. By focusing on positive behaviours we reinforce those behaviours. The behaviour that gets our positive attention will grow. But we need practice to notice children when they are behaving appropriately.
2. Replace With Something Appropriate Strategy
When children are behaving inappropriately, redirect/replace it by asking the children to do something appropriate. “Show me how to arrange the blocks by size.” Instead of saying “no” or “don’t do that”, tell the child what to do.
For example: Instead of saying “don’t run”, say “we walk indoors” or “come tiptoe behind me.”
3. The Choice Strategy
When we let children choose it makes them feel that they are in control. They will be more willing to cooperate. Give children two choices and both choices should be positive and acceptable.
“It is time to clean up. Would you like to put away blocks or trucks?”
At snack time, “I am serving fruit for snack. Would you like an apple or a banana?”
4. The When/Then Strategy:
“When you wash your hands, then you can have a snack.”
When there are too many toys on the floor: “When you put some toys away, then you can bring other toys out.”
When/then strategy communicates expectations. When children know what is expected of them they are mopre willing to cooperate. Caution: when using this strategy make sure your expectations are age and developmentally appropriate and respectful of the child.
Source: Young Children, July 2011, National Association for the Education of Young Children