Preschoolers and Bad Behavior
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Children need to mature at their own pace, so that their social and emotional skills can develop in tandem with their cognitive skills. Preschoolers who feel overwhelmed tend to act out, because it's the easiest way for them to show their frustration.
Help your child learn the rules of acceptable behavior, as well as how to control his own emotions. Explain how he should react when confronted with bad behavior in other children. Avoid enrolling your child in a preschool before the age of two. And consider delaying your child's entry into a group setting if you feel that his social/emotional development is lagging.What Preschools Can Do
Early childhood teachers and their supervisors should receive training in strategies for helping children learn to get along well together, control their anger, and solve problems without resorting to aggression. Teachers should also have access to mental health consultants, who can support and coach them on dealing with behavior problems, as well as provide individualized services to children with serious issues. The Yale Child Study Center found that preschool expulsions were reduced by nearly half when teachers had access to such consultants. Experts also suggest that appropriate student-teacher ratios – no more than 10 students per teacher – would reduce the expulsion rate.
In addition, preschool programs need to give both teachers and students a break – literally. Preschoolers should not be expected to sit any longer than 10 to 15 minutes at a time listening to teacher-directed, structured activities or drills. They can also benefit from relaxation exercises and other stress-reduction techniques in the classroom. Teachers should have ample rest breaks, too.
Finally, let's give day care centers a little credit. Large-group care can sometimes be a cure for behavior problems, because it helps to socialize those children who are emotionally ready to face the wider world. And teachers who use appropriate discipline can help young kids learn how to take charge of their emotions, control their behavior, and get along with others.