Challenging behavior and positive behavior are actually two sides of the same coin. Children exhibit what we call challenging behavior because they do not yet have the social, emotional, language, and cognitive skills to behave in more positive ways.
As early childhood educators, we see challenging behavior as a learning opportunity. Through our responses to challenging behaviors, we can teach children the necessary skills to behave in positive ways. We also work to prevent challenging behaviors by setting up our classroom environment and daily routine in ways that are developmentally appropriate and engaging for the age of the children in that classroom.
This is called Positive Behavior Support and it is built on the understanding that children need to learn critical social skills just as they need to learn math, literacy, and science skills! If a 2-year-old is biting, it is not because she is “bad,” but because perhaps she needs to learn how to communicate her frustration in more positive ways. If a 4-year-old is defiant, it is not to drive you crazy, but because he may need to learn effective ways to cope with anxiety.
Based on current research, we’ve implemented a new behavior support program with strategies and age-appropriate ideas for social, emotional, cognitive, and language skills that help children behave in positive ways. These strategies enable teachers to target a child’s specific behavioral and developmental needs in innovative and novel ways. We can also provide printed resources on behaviors and positive social skills for you to take home.
Your child’s educational and developmental journey is a collaboration between teachers and families. We’re here to offer support and guidance and are available to work directly with you to encourage positive behavior outcomes for your child, at school and at home.
Do you have any questions or concerns about your child’s behavior? Just ask your teacher. We’re here to support you and flip that coin from challenging to positive, if needed.