Supporting children’s behaviour can be key to a happy caring environment.
Write an explanation stating how ground rules for behaviour and expectations are developed and implemented.
If you expect a certain behaviour to be achieved it is crucial that boundaries and expectations are consistent and that everyone involved is made clear of what they are from the beginning.
I would suggest that the first thing to do would be to consider the ground rules that you would expect and to write them in a concise manner. This could be achieved through your policies and procedures for behaviour. Ground rules are necessary not only for the safety of everyone but also to help the children develop a sense of security while in your home and with you.
Following this, I would ensure that before taking on new children you communicate your expectations with the parents and depending on their development level you may wish to involve the child. Due to different parenting styles and expectations your ground rules may differ from those that may be using your service. If this is the case you will need to teach the child what is acceptable at your house, even if this may not be the case at home. While doing this it is important to understand as well as respect these differences.
It is also important that to create a happy and caring environment that these rules are not presented in only a negative manner. If children are expect to not be unkind, a positive way of achieving this for example would be to set a ground rule that states “we need to be kind to everyone” for younger children and “we need to treat others how we would like to be treated” for older children. Children will follow your example, therefore shouting from you may often lead to shouting from them. Neither of these will create a caring and happy environment.
I have previously found through teaching that children’s behaviour can be very positive when they are given clear boundaries and the expectations are known. A good way of achieving this can be to have the children help to make a chart of house rules. Through encouragement you can even make them think that they have thought that is a great on idea not to bounce on the furniture! By explaining why the rules are in place and always being consistence children will have a better understanding of what is expected of them and why. This will help them to remember the rules as well.
Once the ground rules are in place it helps to reinforce them in a positive way. This could be as simple as saying to the group “Look, Amy has sat nicely through all of our lunch time. Well done”. This will not only help Amy to continue to follow the rules but will also encourage others to do so, as they have heard the positive comment as well. Children respond well to praise, however there are instances where behaviour will not always allow this. For instances if a child is biting another, I would not praise another for not biting at the moment. The negative behaviour of the child would need to be addressed immediately. They need to know exactly what they are doing wrong and why it is not allowed. When doing so it is important to ensure that it is made clear to the child that it is the behaviour that is not acceptable. I also feel that if the behaviour results in an apology being needed, that the child needs to do so. After an incident like this took place I would ensure that I found another instance where the child was behaving appropriately and praise that behaviour.
Unfortunately there may be cases when the behaviour of the child is difficult. If this is the case you should make sure that the parents are made aware of the situation (possibly along with the child if you deem it beneficial and appropriate) and discuss options on how to approach the problem. Parents know their child best and may be able to help in finding a good solution or be able to provide information regarding their current situation that may be triggering the difficulties. It may be at this time that a more structured system of positive rein enforcement is needed. This could be achieved by having a reward chart. If it was decided that this would be of use, I would try to work with the parents and have them involved. This could be achieved by having the chart at home and reporting to the parents at the end of the day to let them know what was positive along with any behaviour that was not acceptable. It will also be of use to any other children in your care to have the chart at home as they may see it as unfair that one child may be getting additional praise/reward for behaviour that is expectant and that they adhere to.
It is also important to monitor behaviour and know the normal behaviour of each child. If a change is noticed over time it should be discussed with the parents as well. For example, there may be something going on at school that is bothering the child or a number of different problems that may be presenting through their change in behaviour. The behaviour will need to be managed but the underlining problem will also need to be addressed.
The key thinks that I will do to support the children in my care behaviour will be; to be consistent, set well defined boundaries and rules, praise good behaviour and address difficult behaviour with the help of the parents. Hopefully this will help the child feel secure, cared for, respected and happy.