Behavioural Management

In this assignment I will discuss four different strategies which may be used to manage the behaviour of children, including strategies such as parent and child contracts, child empowerment, assertive discipline, inclusion games, reward charts and incentives. P5. The types of negative behaviour in observed in the setting varies according to age and developmental stages, common behaviours include temper tantrums at around 2 years of age known as the ‘terrible 2s’ phase.

Even at a young age children are able to display destructive and aggressive behaviour which can lead to self injury in some circumstances more severely the injury of others which may be seen as bullying. Children may also show disruptive or distressed behaviour in settings from as young as 3 months old. Many of these behaviours can be observed through out childhood and are generally known as challenging or anti-social behaviour.

Some children may display challenging or anti-social behaviour as a result of physical disabilities or learning difficulties if they are finding tasks difficult they may seek attention through negative behaviour from staff in the setting as well as gaining approval from their peers. Children who are academically gifted or talented may become bored if they are not being challenged through work and play therefore may perform to gain the attention of staff in the setting.

P5, M3, D2. When dealing with behaviour it is important that practitioners use the correct and appropriate approach dependant on the situation, nature of behaviour and the age of the child. The language, tone of voice and body language used to expresses how the adult feels about the situation will help to encourage or discourage behaviour. When a practitioner speaks clearly with a firm tone of voice and strong body language it demonstrates to the child disapproval of their actions or choice where as when an adult speaks more up tempo with an excited tone of voice and energetic body language or smiles this demonstrates approval of the behaviour displayed.

It is very important that adults remember to praise or reinforce the positive in balance with discouraging negative behaviour; this is because children begin to associate a certain type of behaviour with the response or outcome and learn from both the negative and positive reinforcers. Assertive discipline helps the child understand the consequences of their actions; understanding that there are negative outcomes like withdrawal of privileges as a result of negative behaviour and positive outcomes or rewards for positive behaviour.

P5, M3, D2. Child empowerment is one strategy which may be useful to use to manage behaviour in the setting; this approach lets the child have control over their life and choices made involving them. This approach allows the child to develop their self esteem and confidence whilst helping them feel valued by others. The child is responsible of making their own decisions and learning from the mistakes they make from these choices. If the parents of the child can be empowered to build their esteem this will benefit their child as the parent will feel more confident in how they are dealing with their child’s behaviour.

This is in order to break the cycle of poor behaviour receiving poor response or reinforcement allowing the parent to take full control of the situation. I have observed this in one of my work placements where an incident had arisen between two children, the teacher sat together the children to discuss what had happened. As the children discussed their account of the incident the teacher paraphrased to ensure that the teacher understood and clarified the events with the child. With a small amount of guidance and a few ideas from the adult the children came to a mutual agreement of what caused the incident to escalate and what they could in the future stop this incident from recurring. This strategy worked in the short term to stop the incident from repeating as the preventatives were remembered but long term they were forgotten and therefore the incident occurred again.

P5, M3, D2. Inclusion games are another strategy to manage behaviour this is done to help the children to build their self-worth and become more confident around their fellow class mates, gaining respect for the right reasons opposed to gaining respect through being disruptive or pupils being scared of their behaviour. Giving a child who has behavioural problems when sat for a long length of time allocating an important role to them such as taking dinner money to the school office or handing out worksheets gives the child the chance to empower their self whilst deterring the undesired behaviour and feel worthy/included socially in the group.

I have seen this in placement during circle time with a PSE focus and feel that potentially the games are effective although many children who have low self esteem are likely to find talking and expressing them selves in front of the group extremely daunting therefore wish not to join in but the more they are encouraged the less they feel comfortable in effect reducing the child’s self esteem. Providing small activities such as taking the register to the office appear to be more productive for those who are less confident if they are able to choose one of their peers to go with them as this allows them to become more familiar with their peers on a one to one basis therefore appear less self conscious. These activities if built up gradually may help raise a child’s confidence around others, if the activities are too full on the child may not benefit from them at all.

P5, M3, D2. Parent and child contracts can be drawn up to bridge the behaviour management in school and at home. It is an agreement between the child, their parents and the setting comprised of behavioural expectations and the consequences or rewards for specific behaviours. This then allows the child to know the boundaries that are set and helps both the setting and parents to use the same boundaries, rewards and consequences providing continuity for the child.

I feel that this would be a good strategy to manage behaviour which not only occurs in the setting but also at home as this allows the setting and family to work in partnership discussing issues of behaviour and consequences or rewards put in place which work for the child. It also provides a continuum as the expectations, boundaries and reinforcements are consistent regardless of environment or adults therefore the child is able to understand clearly and fully allowing them to conform with ease. Although this may be effective in some instances it may not always be, this strategy requires regular assessments and meetings between parents and setting consequently it can be time consuming.

P5, M3, D2. Rewarding positive behaviour or providing incentives to encourage positive behaviour allow the child to have set targets or aims to meet when using techniques such as reward charts, team points or sticker cards. This allows the child to visually see and connect the positive behaviour they have displayed with a positive outcome. This also helps parents or the setting to keep track on the child’s behaviour if for example the child has a reward chart they must behave positively to move their character progressively up to wards the reward. When I have seen the use of individual sticker charts in placement I have seen that in many cases it encourages positive behaviour to gain the stickers required to earn a gift reward, if a child displays negative behaviour the child makes no progress towards receiving the incentive.

This strategy only works if the big reward is something which is of interest or desire to the child otherwise the child will show no interest in competing to achieve or earn the stickers needed for the reward. This strategy allows the child to see how well they have behaved as to the number of stickers they have, how many they need before they can receive the reward and therefore encourages them to continue progressing and gaining stickers. This can bring about the competitive nature in children and cause fall outs if the children think they should be awarded a sticker because their friend got one and they worked equally as hard.

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