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Is It Developmental or Behavioral: Children’s Misbehavior

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One of my greatest honors is teaching babies and boys!!! They both tickle me so much. Today I was teaching my students about their bodies and force. They were learning how to roll a ball to the other side of the room. They had to figure out how much force to use to get the ball to the wall. So of course these little cuties pies started throwing the ball at the wall , kicking the ball, balls were flying all over the place I was cracking up.

THANK GOODNESS FOR PATIENCE!

I had to stop the class and the music 3 times to explain the instructions and how it was to be done, and that if I saw a ball flying through the air, it was flying right back into my bag. Everyone complied except two little boys, so the balls went flying back into my bag. Well of course you know those boys had the fit of life, crying and carrying on. I explained in a calm voice what I had said earlier and said now they had to watch. They were not happy about that at all.

They both sat out one song, after which I asked did they want to try it again. The purpose of them sitting and watching was not to punish them. In watching the other children they could learn how to do the activity.  I once again explained the instructions. One little boy was able to do it. The other one sent the ball flying into the air again at which point I realized that he just didn’t know how to do it. So his teacher and I showed him how and broke it down so he could see what was happening.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Because I work solely in private schools and early learning centers, it is important for me to understand when a child is really misbehaving and can understand what I am asking them to do or when it is a situation where the child doesn’t have the capability to carry out a task because it is beyond them developmentally. We don’t expect babies to run  or hop or skip. You may say that’s a physical thing, but this happens physically, emotionally, socially and in other ways.

As educators and parents we have an opportunity to look further and ask is this a behavioral problem or are my expectations too high for what the child can actually do.  Asking this question opens up many opportunities to make things better and easier for both the child and us. Once we know the answer we can respond appropriately and in the best interest for everyone.

 

This is why I love my job so much. Sometimes things children do are not out of misbehaving but because they are not quite there developmentally. As Educators it is our job to know the difference and then support them in working on and mastering what it is we are teaching them. HOT DIGGITY!!!! I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!! ♥♥♥

Giving Children A Chance: Disciplining So They Get It

My sessions are designed to contain structured and unstructured activities. Even though an activity may be unstructured there is still  a desired objective I am trying to achieve. For instance,  since it is warm  and more children will be playing outside my children are working with balls.  My students love the character balls, the ones with Spider Man and Jake the Pirate and Dinosaurs etc.

My purpose for working with balls are:

1. To develop rhythm and timing.

2. Develop hand and eye coordination.

3. Develop and enhance focus and concentration.

4. To learn to react and respond immediately to the word “Stop!” Read more »

Eyes Of Love: Guiding Children’s Behavior

Sam is as red as a beet! He was really upset and it showed. One of the other students inadvertently bumped into him while having a blast dancing. We were doing their favorite, Dora the Explorer as well as Diego. All the children were enthusiastically dancing along, arms and bodies all over the place. Try as I might to give everyone their own space, some light collisions still occur as they learn what their bodies can do and explore space.

Seeing what happened, I explained  to Sam that Isaiah really did not mean to bump into him and that it was an accident. Sam was having none of it, all he knew was that he was bumped and that he didn’t like it. Off to a corner of the room he ran as the other children continued to dance. I followed him with my eyes so that I would know where he was and that he would be safe. I then continued to dance along with the other children.

CHILDREN LEARNING ABOUT THEIR EMOTIONS

Normally it is expected of teachers to run after the distressed student. Depending on the student, I do go after this students also. In Sam’s case this was not the first time something like this had happened. I also understand where Sam is developmentally and know that he needs to be allowed to express his feelings and not to be made wrong for doing so. And although running to a corner when all of us are suppose to be dancing was not the correct behavior at the time, it was important that I worked with him in a way that was a win-win situation for us all.

So Sam gets to learn that he gets to express how he is feeling and yet the class and fun still continues. He gets to make a choice of whether he wants to participate or not. My job as the teacher is to make it so much fun that he can’t resist coming back. This is one of the best techniques that I use to redirect children and get things back on track. It is also a way of  encourage him to come back and join us.

AVOIDING RESISTANCE

I could have made a different choice and run to Sam and asked him to come and join us, but to do that would require me to leave the other 8 students I was working with. Knowing Sam as I do he would have resisted and just run to another location away from me. So I knew that that wouldn’t work.

Since I know that behavior like this is just a need for further attention, I gave him that attention with my eyes. There is something so powerful about eye contact. People feel connected to you and feel that you get them and really see them. I both smiled at him and made eye contact with him. I held this eye contact for as long as he did doing nothing but smiling and dancing.

SUCCESS!!!!!

It only took a few seconds before he started smiling and rejoined our group. I was happy and he was happy. Our dance class continued and we all had a great time. I made a mental note to myself to remember this. To make sure that I let my students know they are liked and cared for unconditionally. I am on their side.

I have noticed that there are much less outbursts  from Sam. I feel this is because when children feel you are for them and don’t make them wrong and you have a connection with them, they are less likely to act out to get attention. They are already receiving attention in a positive way. What have you noticed? I’d love to hear about your experiences and your views. Please feel free to share them.

Teach Your Child Positive Self Talk Early

A great tool you can give your child is to teach them the ability to have positive self talk with themselves. Especially when they take on what they feel is a challenging task. One of the first things my students say when I give them something to do that they don’t think they can do is “I can’t do it”. When they say that I pull them away from the task look them in their eyes and explain to them that they will be able to do it.

I ask them if they would like help, sometimes it’s yes and sometimes no. I think just knowing that they will have support and help if they need it gives them courage to try. We then go back over to the task and before they attempt the task I ask them to say ” I can do it!”. At first they are very timid and I ask them to say it again. I ask them to say it progressively louder until they are yelling it out with emotion and enthusiasm and then I ask them to perform the task.

Usually they perform the task with ease. Sometimes I stand near by for support and help if needed. But for the most part they perform the task independent of my help.

You should see their faces after they’ve done it. They are so happy and proud. I am happy and proud too because they feel good about themselves and I know I have accomplished two things. I know that the next time they approach this same task they will perform it with confidence. I have developed trust between me and the child and helped them to develop confidence in themselves.

Help your child to learn to coach themselves and to say positive and encouraging words to themselves.  You can assure them that you have faith in them and that you think they can do it. Also explain that you understand how they feel and that maybe they can just give it a try. Be patient and compassionate with them and sometimes you may have to break the task down even more so that they can experience success first and build confidence for later.

Doing this helps children to build confidence and esteem and the willingness to try new things. It also builds independence within the child. It is especially effective in the classroom with preschoolers. Once they see someone successfully perform a task it gives them the incentive and courage to try.

Let me know what you think and try it out. I’d love to hear from you.

Doing Everything We Can To Prevent Another Colorado Tragedy

My heart felt prayers and condolences go out to all of the families and people that are affected by this tragedy. May God bless them with comfort, peace, and the strength to get through this situation. May we all come together to provide compassion, support and prayer and seek understanding so that we can do everything we can to prevent these types of occurrences in the future.

MAKING SENSE OF THIS TRAGEDY

I sat glued to the television soaking up every morsel of information that I could to make sense of the Tragedy in Colorado. I was looking for clues and insights that I could use in working with my students, that will prevent something like this from happening in their lives. I realize that when I do this that I am not just preventing something  like this from occurring in their lives but my life too. I feel that it is not just the people of Colorado’s problem but a problem that affects us all.

I look and seek not to blame anyone or anything, but to understand and offer support. When tragedies like this happen I feel it is an opportunity to expand our awareness and consider some things. I do not have all of the facts but  so I cannot jump to any conclusions. But from what I do know in my 20 plus years of working with children is that there was something happening in James Holmes that could have possibly been brewing for quite some time. And because that something did not look a certain way of fit a certain profile we dismissed it as nothing to be concerned about.

To me that something was not having a balance within himself on all of the different levels that we all exist on. There is the mental and intellectual levels of students that we seek to develop, but in addition to that we must also seek to develop the social, emotional and spiritual levels of our children also. Addressing the entire child from birth into and throughout adulthood is what is necessary to prevent another tragedy. From what I’ve learned so far about James Holmes it seemed to me that he had superior intellectual abilities but as far as social and emotional capabilities he needed more help.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS

As I mentioned before I am not looking to point the finger at anyone. What I am saying is that we should notice the patterns and make sure that we catch them before they develop into something that will be harmful in the future. I feel as a society we are trying 0ur best. We have identified bullying as being a problem and are taking measures to eliminate that. We require that before teens graduate from high school that they participate in so many hours of community service. I understand the need for this and I feel it is to develop compassion and understanding as well as respect for others.

In my opinion I feel that there is a disconnect of making sure that the development on multiple levels , physical, mental and cognitive, social and emotional to name a few, that we work so hard to develop in Early Childhood Education are not sustained and maintained throughout all of our children’s educational endeavors. If we are to prepare our children for a successful, fulfilling and meaningful future then it will take preparing them on all of these different levels from start to finish.

CELEBRATE THE SMARTNESS OF ALL CHILDREN

Yes we want our children to be smart. In addition we not only want them to be smart intellectually but also emotionally and socially and in all of the ways that they can be smart in . We should realize and acknowledge that children are smart in many different ways and celebrate and value all of those different ways. And just like we evaluate and identify weaknesses with test academically we should also do this in these other areas of development.

These assessments or evaluations or test whatever you want to call them should not be to label anyone or make people feel bad or good. They should only be used to see where a person is and to assist and support them in any areas that they need help in. It should be used to sort of take a snapshot and say this is where person A is, is that sufficient or not and if not what do we need to do about it.

DEVELOPING HEALTHY CHILDREN ON ALL LEVELS

This is the reason that I teach more than just dance and creative movement to my students. I am thinking about and am concerned with their future. It my goal and objective to give them the skills and experiences to develop into the best person that they can possibly be. Comparing them to no one but themselves and looking at where they started and how much they have developed, improved or acquired. I want to make sure that I make my contribution by making it easy for them to be successful in the future and present. I want them to have fun, learn , bond and grow on all levels not just physically and mentally. I want them to develop self esteem, confidence and to feel that ” they can do it”. That not achieving a certain result is not bad or their enemy but instead is just feedback and that they have the power to make the necessary changes if they choose to, to have and achieve the result they want.

It is my intention and prayer that by doing this I will help to produce happy, confident, smart and productive children that grow into happy, confident, smart and productive adults. That know and understand that health and well being take place on many levels, not just in one area alone.  I realize that if we all as a society do our part in helping ourselves and others we will at least know that we did everything that we could to prevent another “Tragedy In Colorado”.

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