BEHAVIOR AND DISCIPLINE
PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR SCHOOL AND HANDLING SEPARATION
There are excellent books for you and your child such as:
- Will I have a Friend?
- The Kissing Hand
Talk to your child about what makes them smile and what makes them happy.
- Try to correlate good feelings with things that we will be doing in class.
- Talk about having fun with friends and how they will meet so many friends at school.
- In preparation for the first day, you could go shopping for the bag they will bring to school, new clothes, or talk about what he/she will bring for snack when he/she is helping child.
- Talk to them about how sharing means taking turns, and how sometimes it is hard to wait, but that is what friends do.
- Plan for the first day to be relaxed. Let them choose their clothes the night before.
- You might plan a special breakfast together.
- Also, casually talk about how mommy or daddy will walk you to the classroom, give you the biggest kiss and hug and leave.
- Remind your child who will pick them up.
- If they want to practice or pretend, fine.
- Happily and confidently say good-bye. We sometimes have to use the ‘peel the banana’ approach, where the child is gently peeled from mom or dad. But that is OK.
If your child is inconsolable, the teacher will call you to come back to the school. We will work with you and your child. We will not let your child cry for long. Please, never sneak out of the room without saying good-bye. It is better for your child to become upset initially than to suddenly realize that he or she has been tricked, becoming even more upset.
Occasionally, separation anxiety will occur or reoccur in older children. This is likely to happen if there has been a major life event recently. The birth of a sibling, a parent’s extended absence, a long trip, an accident, an illness, or the death of a loved one – any of these may cause the child to need special attention and understanding until they have worked through their anxiety. At any time, if something occurs in your child’s life that you think may affect them, tell the teacher. She is ready to help your child and your family with the many ups and downs that may happen as they grow.
DISCIPLINE AND BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT POLICY
Prior to admittance to the first class, parents sign a form which includes the following policy statement.
We believe that praise and positive reinforcement are effective methods of behavioral management and discipline for children. When children receive positive, nonviolent interactions with adults, they are more apt to develop good self-concepts along with self-discipline and problem solving abilities. We believe that discipline can be a positive learning experience. Based on this belief,
The School of Grace Parent Participatory Preschool will exercise the following policy:
- DO praise, reward, and encourage the children.
- DO reason with and set limits for the children.
- DO model appropriate behavior for the children.
- DO modify the classroom environment to attempt to prevent problems before they occur.
- DO listen to the children.
- DO provide alternatives for inappropriate behavior to the children.
- DO provide the children with natural and logical consequences of their behaviors.
- DO treat the children as people and respect their needs, desires, and feelings.
- DO ignore minor misbehaviors.
- DO explain things to children on their levels.
- DO use short, supervised periods of ‘time-out’ (‘Time-out’ is described below.)
- DO stay consistent in our behavior management program.
- DO NOT spank, shake, bite, pinch, push, pull, slap, or otherwise physically punish the children.
- DO NOT make fun of, yell at, threaten, make sarcastic remarks about, use profanity, or otherwise verbally abuse the children.
- DO NOT shame or punish the children when bathroom accidents occur.
- DO NOT deny food or rest as punishment.
- DO NOT relate discipline to eating, resting, or sleeping.
- DO NOT leave the children alone, unattended, or without supervision.
- DO NOT place the children in locked rooms, closets, or boxes as punishment.
- DO NOT allow discipline of children by children.
- DO NOT criticize, make fun of, or otherwise belittle children’s parents, families, or ethnic groups.
‘Time-out’ is the removal of a child for a short period of time (3 to 5 minutes) from a situation in which the child is misbehaving and has not responded to other discipline techniques. The ‘time-out’ space, usually a chair, is located away from classroom activity but within the teacher’s sight. During ‘time-out’, the child has a chance to think about the misbehavior which led to his/her removal from the group. After a brief interval of no more than 5 minutes, the teacher discusses the incident and appropriate behavior with the child. When the child returns to the group, the incident is over and the child is treated with the same affection and respect shown the other children.
Adapted from original prepared by Elizabeth Wilson, Student, Catawba Valley Technical College
DISCIPLINE STRATEGIES FOR HELPING PARENTS
- Be on time! Be prepared! Arrive early enough so the snack is in the kitchen and you are ready to help when other children begin to arrive.
- Observe everything! If there is a problem, take time to assess the situation. Is the need yours for quiet or the child’s need for safety ?
- Adult/child check. Who is within close proximity of an adult ?
- Lower your voice, whisper, avoid raising your voice and calling across the room; speak calmly and quietly.
- Use an attention getting phrase like “Guess what!”, “Did you know that…?”, “I need someone to….”.
- Offer affection: an arm around the shoulder, a pat on the back; actions often speak louder than words.
- Keep all conversations child oriented. When children lose the attention to adult conversation (chatting) they either stray from the activity or engage in attention getting behavior.
- Participate enthusiastically in all activities. If you are obviously engaged in an enjoyable activity, the children will be more interested.
- Have fun! Make every activity fun. Ask yourself, “How can we make walking down the hall fun?”
- Adjust the activity or help the child choose a different activity that eliminates the problem or source of frustration.
- If hands are bothering someone else, find something else for the hands to do, i.e.. “Let’s carry the ball to the bucket.”
- If a child says or acts like he “can’t” do something, find a way that he ‘can’ do it. Break the activity down into smaller attainable steps.
- Give the child a break. Does the child need an outlet at that moment?
- Wiggle Break- Grab wiggles from the air, put on body parts, throw away.
- “Let’s take a breather”-Take the child for a brief, purposeful walk outside, i.e. Use a squirt bottle to water plants. The break only needs to last a few minutes followed by an enthusiastic invitation to rejoin the group.
- Before rejoining the group, plan the entrance, i.e.. “Everyone else is listening to a story. How can we quietly join them?”
- Acknowledge the feelings, i.e.. “You seem frustrated with this activity, let’s try it this way/another activity/ together.”
- Give the child appropriate encouragement and praise to encourage positive behavior.
- Find something positive that the child is doing to bring him/ her away from a negative situation. For example: “Anna, you can jump as high as a kangaroo! Let’s jump together to the balls!”
- Talk it out. Conference with the child(ren) to find a solution or strategy that is acceptable to everyone involved.
- Offer acceptable choices. Don’t offer a choice that you can’t live with.
- Cooperate. List the choices, then ask, “With which of these choices can we both be happy?
PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS
Help the child and playmate define the problem:
Have the children LOOK at each other. Listen to each child and make sure they listen to each other. Interpret and explain, if necessary.
Do not determine who is right or wrong, at first. Rather, help the children work out a solution. Listen to all offers, many times children are very creative and have better solutions than you might imagine!
Have the children speak to each other. Ex. Tell each child to complete the statement, ‘I don’t like it when you …’
In defining the problem, make a statement of observation rather than judgement. Ex. ‘I see that both of you want the same book. I see that you are fighting about it and pulling the book between you. Tell me what happened.’
Encourage the children to use each other’s names as they talk, which helps to get the other child’s attention. Guide the child to observe a situation before jumping in. Ex. ‘Martha and Tammy are playing baby dolls. Why don’t you ask them what YOU could do to help take care of the baby?’
Sometimes, of course, it is necessary to jump in quickly. Make sure that you are at eye level, looking at the child’s face, and that the child is looking at you. Speak calmly to the child and ask the child to repeat what he/she heard you say. You may place your hands gently on the child’s shoulders and ask, ‘ What are you doing?’, if the child is doing something that needs to stop quickly. Ex. You might tell Martha, ‘I heard Tammy say ‘Stop it’. Did you hear her say ‘Stop it’ to you?’ Tammy might then be prompted to tell Martha directly how she feels about what Martha did or said.
If children continue not to heed efforts to redirect them, or if they are engaging in behavior that is unsafe for themselves or others, you can make them ‘sit out’ or use a more formal time out. (See Time-Out). Children can be invited back to join the activity in a few minutes if they are able to understand what is expected of them. Talking seems to be the best discipline there is, combined with love, acceptance of the individual child and positive rewards.
Try to help the children become creative problem solvers. Often simply helping the children to SLOW DOWN and listen to their friend is enough to elicit solutions like, ‘You can play with this now,” and “I’ll play with it after you!’