Strategies for Preschool Behavior Management

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Children between the ages of 3 and 5 go through many developmental stages, and not all children can progress from one stage to the next with ease. It is common for youngsters this age to misbehave at preschool. Examples may include temper tantrums, verbal and physical aggression, hurting themselves, being disruptive in class and destroying class property.

It's up to parents to set limits and boundaries for their children but preschool teachers must be competent at behavior management. suggests several techniques for managing conflict in the classroom.

1 Stop the Action and Look for the Positive

Paul is trying to wrestle a toy away from Kendra. If you acknowledge Paul’s action, it may be enough to calm him down.
"Paul, I see that you would like to play with the stuffed animal that Kendra has," could be effective.

2 Educate

Let Paul know how his actions affect Kendra. "Paul, when you shove Kendra like that, it hurts her," teaches the child to consider others.

3 Set Verbal Limits

Even if Paul is too young to understand or is not able to adjust his behavior based on what you are saying, it's important to tell him what is and what is not acceptable. An example might be, "Paul, you may not shove Kendra like that, it's not nice."

4 Set Physical Limits

A physical limit can be set using both your voice and action to achieve the desired result.

If Johnny is painting the floor instead of his paper, you could impose physical limits by removing the brush from his hand (physical) and telling him that he's not to paint on the floor (verbal). Then you could both clean the paint off of the floor.

5 Provide Options

Letting a child choose for herself demonstrates that you trust her.

Whether or not she is capable of making a choice is not as important as providing her with options.

This may help her to make valid decisions when she is older. For example, you might say, "Can you stop scratching the top of the desk with the pen yourself, or do you need me to help you stop?"

6 Explain Consequences

7 Time-Out

Many parents and teachers are familiar with time-out techniques when a child is misbehaving. suggests that the sessions be brief and not used as a threat. Do not say, “David, if you don't stop pulling Rachel's hair you will be having a time-out." When David's time-out is over, direct him to a new activity.

Adrienne Davis lives in the Hudson Valley and has been a freelance writer and blogger since 2009. Her work regularly appears in various online publications and blogs. Davis' writing expertise comes from a real estate and professional home-staging background and includes design and decoration as well as social planning. She studied radiology at Fanshawe College.