Each child is unique and they each have different temperaments. Some children are active, others are quiet; some adapt easily to change while others react uneasily to change; some give clear signals to others about what they want and need while others find it difficult to communicate their needs with others.
There are many factors that contribute to children’s behaviour. Programs and routines, equipment and resources, the physical environment, interactions between children and between adults, how they rest and sleep, nutrition and medical conditions all affect the child’s behaviour at a service. While at home changes to the family environment, birth of a sibling or moving house can also have an effect.
Consistency in the behaviour guidance strategies used at the service and at home help the child’s learning and development.
Educators at your service will provide different levels of support to children of different ages. For example, a toddler who is not yet verbal and may bite others as a way of gaining some control over their environment will need a different level of understanding and support to that of an older child who demonstrates inconsiderate behaviour as they interrupt the play of others by continually knocking down their construction.
Each situation is seen as a ‘teachable moment’ where children can learn, develop empathy, understand the consequences of their behaviour and actions, and build their own strategies for responding to challenging situations. Each child has capacity to learn and develop the life-long skills of resilience, negotiation and problem solving, supported through positive relationships with educators and other children as they attend child care.
Developing positive relationships with children is the most powerful tool that educators have to guide children’s behaviour. The day to day interactions lay the foundations for developing the child’s self-esteem, positive attitudes, values and behaviour patterns.
In your service you should see educators:
The national legislation informs providers and educators about quality interactions with children. Interactions should maintain the dignity and rights of each child and educators should give each child positive guidance and encouragement toward acceptable behaviour. At no time is it acceptable that educators or staff raise their voices, smack, humiliate or isolate the child for misbehaviour.
All services are required to have a policy about interactions with children, which guides how they provide opportunities for children to interact and develop respectful and positive relationships with each other and with staff members. The policy will be available to you and is a good starting point as you work collaboratively with educators to develop your child’s behaviour.
Collaboration with your child’s educator gives you:
It is also important to ensure that all children are treated fairly and that they are supported to develop and practice their problem solving and negotiation skills and to interact positively with their peers.
Developing a shared understanding between families and educators about how children’s behaviour is managed is important. It helps create consistency in the behaviour guidance strategies used at the service and at home, making the child’s learning and development more effective. Children’s self-regulation will develop, and their positive involvement with their learning and development will increase. Both family life, and life at child care will also improve, making everyone’s lives easier!