Understanding Behavior Management

Despite all their wonderful qualities and their irresistible zest for life, spending ample amount of time with children can be trying, especially when they are exhibiting troubling behaviors. This blog post aims to discuss different techniques for managing troubling child behaviors as well as ignite a broad discussion on the topic of behavior management.

The act of promoting positive behaviors and correcting harmful behaviors by an adult is called “behavior management.” As educators, it is our duty to ensure that children are not misbehaving. Misbehaving is a broad concept but can be thought of as a failure to act in a societally acceptable fashion.  Examples of misbehavior include but are not limited to the following: using swear words, bullying, acting selfish, pushing other children, talking back to adults, etc.

How to determine if behavior needs correcting?

Socially acceptable behaviors for children can vary by geographical area, culture, setting, etc.  Teachers must recognize this, and always make the determination of whether a child’s behavior is suitable to their environment.  Some behaviors however, are universally unacceptable, such as punching a classmate.  As educated adults with world-life experiences, it is our job to teach children that there is a time and a place for certain actions.  At times it is okay to be silly like while a child is playing on the playground, while other times, like during story time it is best to listen intently.  It can be difficult for children to determine when certain behaviors are acceptable, and they will learn best by trial and error, with periodic explanations of why or why not a behavior is acceptable in a certain instance.

What are some best practices for behavior management?

Focus on the ABCs of Behavior Management:

Antecedents: These are factors that make an inappropriate behavior more likely to occur. In other words, an antecedent is a trigger, something that likely leads to an inappropriate behavior.  Understanding a child’s triggers allows an educator to prepare themselves to anticipate certain behaviors, as well as to avoid the triggers that stir negative behaviors all together.

  • Example: For some children, riding the bus is a trigger for acting inappropriately. Recognizing this trigger, teachers can prepare by positioning their own seat location on the bus near the area of the child who is likely to “act out.”

Behaviors: This refers to the specific actions you are trying to encourage or discourage.  Behavior management is more than just seeking to limit bad behaviors. It is also the process by which we teach positive behaviors.

Example: Encouraging positive self-talk by rewarding it or discouraging poor language by offering alternatives and conveying the consequences of the behavior.

Consequences: These can be either positive or negative and are the natural result of a behavior.  The use of consequences can affect the likelihood that a behavior occurs again.  Especially for children, it is important that consequences be felt immediately.

  • Example: Rewarding positive conflict resolution with additional screen time for a child who values it.

What should we avoid when practicing behavior management? (source: teachub.com)

  • Trying to manage every behavior: At the end of the day, kids are going to misbehave, and they are likely going to do so often.  As educators, we’d go crazy if we sought to manage every behavior and correct every negative action by a child.  Teachers should “pick their battles.”
  • Doing the thinking for the child: Children learn not by being told what to do, but rather by reflecting on their own behaviors. Ask questions. Help them come to the desired conclusions.
    • Question Examples:
      • How do you think John felt when you pushed him in line?
      • You were very helpful to Mrs. Jane today. Does it make you feel good to help out your teacher?
      • Is yelling at your friend going to help you solve the problem?
    • Publicly shaming: Children should never be shamed for their behavior. Should a child’s behavior need coaching, do it in private.  They can be “called out” publicly for their behavior, but that should be the extent of it. All other discussions should occur privately.
    • Use words that affect a child’s self esteem negatively: Even when a child misbehaves they are still worthy of every adult’s respect. Labeling children with negative adjectives like “naughty” or “dumb” serves no positive developmental purpose and is mean spirited.

Additional Resources:

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Helping Children Trough Trauma

We live in an imperfect world, characterized by pain, suffering and turmoil. Although we don’t like to think about it, often children are the victims of horrific circumstances through no fault of their own.  We call these circumstances and experiences “childhood trauma(s).” This blog post is aimed at providing parents and teachers with information and additional resources to help children through traumatic experiences and their aftermath.

What qualifies as “childhood trauma?”

The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies defines “childhood trauma” as “negative events that are emotionally painful and that overwhelm a person’s ability to cope.” The society notes that childhood trauma is most disastrous in its negative effects when it is inflicted by another person, intentionally.

What are some of the types of childhood trauma?

  • Physical: Trauma that inflicts physical pain or distress on a child (example: shaking an infant).
  • Emotional/Psychological: Trauma that causes long-lasting emotional harm to a child and is degrading in its effects (example: consistent hurtful name-calling by a parent).
  • Sexual: Trauma that is the result of sexually abusive behavior by another individual (example: inappropriate touching by an adult).
  • Neglect: Trauma inflicted due to adult abandonment of a child’s developmental needs (example: a parent neglecting to feed their child).
  • Grief or Separation: Trauma produced by losing a loved one (example: father dying when a child is young).
  • Re-traumatization from the system: Trauma inflicted when the system that should be helping a traumatized child, uses their power to further exacerbate and add to the trauma (example: a therapist using their power to inflict psychological pain on the traumatized child).

What are the on adults who experienced childhood trauma?

Adults who suffered childhood trauma face many consequences. As stated earlier, trauma “overwhelms a person’s ability cope.” Psychology Today reports that people who experienced childhood trauma often experience these four consequences:

  1. Presentation of a false self: The victims of childhood trauma often present themselves falsely to the world as adults. This is likely a coping mechanism that allows them to seemingly protect themselves from experiencing painful emotions related to their past.
  2. View themselves as Victims: Often individuals who are victims in children feel they are victims for the rest of their life. They are not. They are strong individuals who went through a tough time.  They are not victims as adults. They are strong, powerful, and resilient individuals who should see themselves that way.
  3. Passive Aggressiveness: Forced to hold in their emotions as a child, adults often struggle with expressing anger effectively.  As children they may have experienced an adult in their life who utilized anger to inflict trauma on them. Inability to express anger in a healthy way often manifests itself as passive aggressiveness.
  4. Passivity: When a child has suffered abandonment or neglect, they likely fear it will happen again. To protect themselves from this, they compensate by abandoning themselves. They suppress their emotions and remain passive.

Does childhood trauma affect an individual’s physical health?

Yes! Check out this TED Talk by Nadine Burke Harris, M.D.

What are some signs a child may have experienced something traumatic?

Additional Resources:

 

Promoting Health in an Era of Childhood Obesity

American children are in the grips of an overwhelming obesity epidemic that is sweeping the nation and showing no sign of slowing down.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, since the 1970’s, rates of childhood obesity have tripled. In 2015 and 2016, research determined that roughly 20% of children (ages 6-19) were obese. For context, obesity is simply having “excess body fat” (which varies in amount by age).

For a child who experiences obesity, the immediate consequences include decreased social and emotional health, as well as an increased chance they will experience the following conditions later in life: fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, heart disease, high cholesterol, and orthopedic problems.

As parents, educators and community members, we can make a difference in stymieing the tide of childhood obesity. This blog post will discuss how to do just that.

What are the causes of childhood obesity:

  1.  Lack of Exercise and Physical Activity: With the increased utilization of video games and television, many children are forgoing physical activity and outdoor play. Kidshealth.org reports that older kids and teens need 60 minutes of vigorous exercise daily, while children ages 2 to 5 years old should play actively multiple times a day.
  2. Genetics: Some children are genetically predisposed to obesity.  Their body’s metabolism may be slower than the norm or they may process fat differently.  Genetics cannot be changed altogether, but they can be worked around. Lifestyle habits are passed down one generation to the next.
  3. Poor Nutrition: Too much processed food, sugary beverages, unhealthy simple carbohydrates, as well as bad fats make up a large portion of the American child’s diet.  For children between the ages of 5 and 10, the top five sources of their caloric intake include “whole and chocolate milk, pizza, soft drinks, low-fat milk and cold cereal” (source: eurekalert.org).  A healthier diet for children can be found on the Mayo Clinic Website.  Recommended caloric intake varies by age, but the bulk of the diet for all ages should be fruits, vegetables, and grain.

How can adults promote healthy living to children?

  1. Lead by Example: Research conveys that children imitate adults. They look to them as an example, especially those whom they admire. As a parent or educator, we need to use our valuable time with children in our care to ensure that the habits children are imitating are positive ones. Positive habits include but are not limited to: eating nutritious food, avoiding junk food, making exercise a priority, drinking plenty of water, and practicing good hygiene and self-care.
  2. Shun the idea of a Diet: The word “diet” is largely a negative word in the United States because it makes people think about eating boring food, restricting ones’ self, and overall temporary suffering for the sake of achieving a desired weight.  Once that weight is achieved, the diet is then usually ended.  Children should be taught about lifestyle wellness rather than diets.  Diets are short term and not permanent, while wellness is long term and never ending. Diets are eating and exercise-centered, while wellness encompasses physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and environmental health. Wellness is big-picture and provide kids a larger view of heath.
  3. Make Exercise Fun: Children naturally like to play. At Discovery Days/Kids Connection Childcare Centers we believe in play so much that it is the basis of our education philosophy (play-based learning). Building a fort outside, four-square, racing, and playing soccer are just a few ways you can play with children in your care.  Exercise doesn’t have to be painful, nor should it be!
  4. Be Realistic: Drastic and immediate changes are not needed. Be realistic about the changes you make for yourself and children in your care. There’s no reason to jump to extremes. Be realistic about the possible changes in your life and the children you care for. What can you do now to begin promoting a healthier lifestyle? It may be incorporating more vegetables into lunch and dinner or cutting out desert 4 times a week.  Take small steps towards your goals, they are much more sustainable that way.
  5. Teach your Child How to Manage Stress: Children have stress too, though we often forget this fact.  When both children and adults are stressed, they tend eat unhealthier than usual, and become less active. It’s important that as adults we teach skills associated with managing stress, to ensure the rest of their wellness doesn’t suffer.

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Additional Resources:

Questions to Think About:

  • What are some habits you can change in your own life to be a better healthy role model for the child(ren) in your care?
  • What physical activities would the child(ren) in your care benefit from?
  • What physical activities would the child(ren) in your care enjoy trying?
  • What healthy foods do the child(ren) in your care enjoy, and how can you increase their intake?

The Power of Guided Play

Children play; it is what they do. More precisely its what they enjoy doing (and it’s also what adults enjoy doing).  Did you know that guided play could be the key to maximized child development? It sure can! This blog post seeks to explain the power of guided play, and how to do it.

What is “Guided Play?”

According to Heinemann, an organization specializes in providing educational services for teachers, “guided play takes place in a purposeful environment that’s been carefully planned to stimulate and support children’s curiosity  and creativity” and is supported by adult intervention when necessary.  “Guided play” differs from “Free play” in that it has a structure, is serving a larger developmental purpose, and is facilitated by an adult. Please note that guided play does not mean adult led, but rather adult facilitated. Adults are to act as a partner in play, in which their focus should be helping the child learn and question. To learn more about the difference between the two types of play, check out the Heinemann blog and the corresponding video in the article.

What does guided play look like in practice (Association for Psychological Science)?

  • Child(ren) and adult are playing together
  • The child maintains autonomy over what the play consists of, and the adult supports the child while maintaining the child’s safety.
  • Adults create the educational setting conducive to child learning
  • After the environment is set, let the child begin playing, and adults can begin guiding from that point on.
  •  To promote thinking, adults should interject questions, offer comments, provide explanations when needed, and continue to ask “why?” to promote the child’s challenging of their own thinking.
  • When a child wants to move onto a different activity, let them. Remember, it’s their play experience, we as adults are just supporting it!

Here are a few examples (provided directly from PBS) of  Guided Play?

  • If your children are playing “restaurant,” apply for a job, then encourage your new workplace to include aspects like creating menus, writing down orders and adding up totals on customers’ bills.
  • If your kids are throwing a ball, suggest that they count up how many times they can catch it without dropping it, then try to break that record.
  • If your little monkeys are climbing a tree, talk about how different trees have different shapes of leaves, fruits and seeds, yet they all produce oxygen for us to breathe. (And if they fall out of the tree, you can turn it into a memorable lesson about gravity, too!)

Shouldn’t the adults just let the kids play?

  • While some free play time is necessary and even healthy, adults should guide play as much as they can.  Psychology Today reports that guiding play can shape positive behavior, teach problem solving skills. encourage exploration, and model healthy social interactions. In addition, guided play strengthens the bond between children and the adults in their life.

Why is Guided Play Effective?

  • It relies on a child’s natural inclination toward discovery
  • It recognizes that play isn’t mindless, but requires ample thinking!
  • Provides a child with the support they need to play safely, and to try things they wouldn’t be able to do all on their own
  • It combines the environmental and psychological factors that boost learning
  • It forces children to think deeper about their thinking processes

Recommended Reading/Resources:

 

 

Incorporating Nature in Child Development

This blog post is focused on providing parents and educators with information relevant to the benefits of incorporating nature into child development, as well as practical ways to accomplish just that.

What are the benefits of incorporating nature into a child’s learning experiences?

The research is clear, incorporating nature in a child’s learning experiences is extremely beneficial for their development. According to the Natural Learning Initiative, outdoor learning experiences benefit children in the following ways:

  • Support Multiple Development Domains: Playing and learning in nature develops children intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically.
  • Increases physical activity: Being outside provides children with the opportunity to move around and be active, which is much harder to do indoors.  Physical activity improves cognitive function while also helping children stay healthy and maintain a normal weight. The United States finds itself in a childhood obesity epidemic. The good news is that this can be lessened in severity by incorporating more outdoor play and learning for all children.
  • Reduce Stress: Children are increasingly facing stress, which can come in various forms and manifest itself in various ways. Too much stress negatively affects child development and can lessen their happiness. Outdoor play and learning reduces stress. Green plants, natural landscapes, and water all produce a calming effect in children.
  • Enhances problem solving skills: Research shows that children engage in more creative forms of play outdoors, which leads to increased usage of problem solving skills. In a complex and ever-evolving world, problem solving skills will always be necessary skills to develop.

Why is it important to teach a love of nature?

Children and adults interact with the natural world every day.  It is where we make our lives, and it contains the water we drink, the land on which we plant our feet, and the air we breath.  Teaching children to love nature will as a result teach them to value it. To value nature is to take steps to conserve it, something society increasingly needs.

According to the National Wildlife Federation: “Cornell University found that children who spend significant amounts of time immersed in nature and the outdoors such as camping, hiking, or other nature activities in their younger years are more incline to be conservationists or at least be conservation-minded as adults.”

What if going outside isn’t a readily available option due to weather or other circumstances?

While it is encouraged that children get outside to play and learn, it is not always an option. Wisconsin winters and wet springs can make outdoor play next to impossible.  Here are some resources for how you can incorporate nature indoors.

  • Bring nature inside, by putting outdoor materials (leaves, pine cones, dirt, sticks, wood chips, etc.) into a sensory bin.  Let the children explore these materials.
  • Utilize natural materials in art projects. Check out some ideas on Pinterest.
  • Work with children to grow small plants. The act of tending to a growing plant and watching it grow will foster an appreciation of nature in children. Also, the plant will make nearby air cleaner.
  • Use rocks and other natural materials to create bugs!
  • Incorporate the usage of real (washed) fresh foods into the the Kitchen Play Domain Area. Make sure to compost or otherwise use the food. Allowing children to play with real food, especially healthy food will strengthen their connection to it, and associate positive feelings towards it.

What are some of the misconceptions about incorporating nature into education?

  • Teachers need to be “nature-loving hippies”: For children to receive the ample benefits of interacting with nature, their teachers neither need to be outdoors experts, or tree-huggers. All they must simply do is embrace the outdoors, and provide children with the opportunities to do the same. No additional experience is necessary.
  • Kids need to be outside all day to receive the benefits of nature interaction: The American Heart Association recommends that children above the age of two years old get 60 minutes of physical activity per day. For the sake of their health, it is best to get them outdoors! In our day and age, it is unrealistic for most kids to spend entire days outside; there are other priorities in our lives.  If 60 minutes at one time seems daunting as a parent or educator, go outside for ten minutes at a time. By doing this you are allowing a child to burn off energy, and interact with the natural world.
  • Outdoor learning is expensive and requires travel: Outdoor learning is free. To receive the benefits of engaging with the natural world, all we have to do is step outside, onto our playgrounds and backgrounds. When we visualize engaging with nature we think about mountains, oceans, and forests, which brings up the idea of travel. We don’t need to travel, the natural world is all around us. Embrace it.

Additional Resources:

Children and Conflict Resolution

Conflict isn’t just for adults.  Children of all ages experience conflict and it’s unpleasant effects.  This post is designed to provide educators with additional resources and information pertaining to helping children in their care build their conflict resolution skills.

What is “conflict resolution?

  • “Conflict resolution is a way for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among them” (source: Kansas University Community Toolbox).

 Don’t kids inherently know how to solve their conflicts?

  • Children need to be taught conflict resolution skills. All teachers have witnessed a young child steal a toy from another, only to see the child who had their toy stolen punch the child who stole the toy.  This depiction simply displays that both children didn’t have the skills necessary to solve their conflict rather than let it devolve into violence and theft. It is the job of educators and family members to teach children how to handle conflict effectively, and to resolve it efficiently.

How should teachers react when they notice conflict between two or more children?

  • Teachers should not seek to solve the issue for the children.  They should recognize that it is a valuable learning opportunity that shouldn’t be squandered by adults.
  • Teachers should provide questions that force the children to think about the other party’s feelings (example: How do you think it makes John feel when you take his ball?).
  • Encourage the children to listen to the other party’s thoughts and feelings.
  • Serve as a mediator.
  • Avoid taking the sides.  Remember, you are there to mediate the resolution, not create a solution yourself.

The Four C’s of Conflict Resolution for Kids:

  • Cooperation: For children to resolve conflicts effectively, they must cooperate with each other. They need to understand each other’s thoughts, needs, and perspectives.  Without having this understanding they can’t relate, and are focused only on themselves. Resolution to conflict takes teamwork. Children need to work together to craft solutions.
  • Communication:  Children struggle with communication, especially the younger they are. Children struggle to verbalize their feelings, because they lack the vocabulary to do so. Teachers can help to improve child communication skills by helping them establish an emotional vocabulary, which will help them further their ability to make sense of their emotions and verbalize them. Check out what Michigan State University has published on this topic!
  • Compromise: Without compromise, no conflict will remain solved.  Compromise entails each child giving a little to get a little.  Neither party will be fully happy with the result, but its better to be happy with some of it than none of it. Teachers can help promote compromise by asking questions that force the children to think about what they are willing to give up to come up with a solution in which they are both happy.  As adults, we never want to give them the answers, but rather simply provide questions and comments that force them to think on a deeper level.
  • Calmness: No solution will be reached if both parties of children do not remain calm.  If either party is too emotional or upset, they are unlikely going to be able to communicate their feelings appropriately, and cooperate to come up with a compromise.  Teachers can help children remain calm by providing a “cooling down” period for both parties when conflict arises. Everyone thinks more clearly after having a minute or two to calm themselves and self-examine their own thoughts and feelings pertaining to the conflict.

Do conflicts between two children always produce a winner and a loser?

  • Conflicts should not produce a winner and a loser, but instead two winners.  According to Kids Matter, an organization specializes in child mental health, an acceptable solution that is a “win-win” for both parties is only possible if there is compromise (both parties get a “win”). A “win-lose” solution is the result if one side simply gives in, threatens the other, avoids confrontation, or behaves in a way that somehow hinders the resolution process. Conflict resolution that incorporates the four C’s produce “win-win” solutions.

Additional Resources:

Optimizing Your Professional Development

On a bi-weekly basis as an educator at Discovery Days/Kids Connection Child Care Centers you receive professional development blog posts e-mailed directly to you. In addition, you are also made aware of local professional development events in the area, virtually all of which the organization will pay for admittance.  As a management team we are thoroughly committed to the professional development of every one of our employees. Our strength as an organization lies in our employees, and we take pride in ensuring our employees have all the educational resources they need to be successful and feel fulfilled.

This blog post is focused on helping you direct your professional development. Follow the steps below to ensure you are consistently improving as an early childhood education professional.

Review:

Review your most recent performance review. Reflect on areas of the review that highlighted your strengths, and those that highlighted your weaknesses.  Great wisdom can be gained from reviewing your strengths and weaknesses, if you recognize them, and do everything you can to magnify your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Famous author Mark Twain said it best, “Build on your strengths, work on your weaknesses.” Professional development’s core purpose is to increase job performance and workplace success. To receive help with determining what can be done to improve weaknesses, speak with your co-teachers, co-workers, and Directors.  Be open to feedback!

Set Goals:

After you determine what your weaknesses are, commit to working on them by creating short, medium, and long-term goals.  Short term goals can be anywhere from 1 day to 3 months. Medium-term goals take roughly 3 to 36 months to complete.  Any goal that would take longer than 36 months to complete would be considered long-term.

It’s important to break your goals down into short, medium, and long term because by doing so you provide yourself with “stepping stones.” Examples of short, medium, and long-term goals are as follows:

Short-Term: Complete Early Childhood Education 1 and 2 to become “Lead Teacher Certified.”

Medium-term: Complete Early Childhood Education Practicum 1-4, and receive a job offer from one of the locations where the practicum was completed.

Long-term: Finish Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education

As you can see, the short-term goal is a stepping stone to the medium-term goal, which is a stepping stone to the long-term goal.  Completing large tasks like obtaining one’s Associates Degree is much more doable when broken into smaller steps. As you achieve your goals, create new ones! Let your goals be your road map.

Check in Regularly with your Director: While professional development is largely a personal endeavor, your organization is here to help you along the way.  In addition, if the organization’s goals and needs are aligned with yours, a mutually beneficial relationship is built.

Reflect: As your professional life and development continues evolving, make time to reflect. Think deeply about what has worked, what hasn’t, if any of your goals should altered, or how your colleagues and Director can be of assistance.  An effective way to do this is to periodically journal. Journaling has many uses and benefits!

Don’t Hesitate to Adjust: Things don’t always go as we plan them.  Despite having short, medium, and long-term goals, sometimes life can get in the way.  People get pregnant, move, face a family crisis, etc.  To succeed in our professional development, we need to understand although we have plans and goals, but sometimes things change and that’s okay. Goals can be changed, altered, or even discontinued. Your goals may change, and you might want to pursue something else. That’s okay also. Be flexible!

Additional PD Resources for Child Care Professionals:

If you have an interest in creating a personalized professional development plan, please reach out via e-mail, I’m happy to help.

 

 

 

Partnering with Parents

To ensure a quality relationship between the center and families, teachers and staff must invest time into developing a partnership that puts the well-being of children first.  Parents entrust their child to the center, and it is our job to ensure that their trust is warranted.  They expect a safe environment, innovative educational programming, welcoming surroundings, competent teachers, and a staff that communicates effectively. The center expects that parents make staff aware of any difficulties or transitions their child is experiencing at home, what we can do to aid in their child’s development, any positive or negative feedback about center practices, and any general thoughts on their center experience.  If both parents and teachers meet each other’s partnership expectations, the relationship will remain strong and the children will benefit!

There are many keys to successful partnerships with parents. This post focuses on explaining a few actions teachers and staff can take to ensure they are meeting parent expectations.

Capitalize on time parents are in the center: Parents are inside the center for on average roughly 5-7 minutes per day. They drop their child(ren) off in the morning, and pick them up in the afternoon. They don’t see what great activities their child participates in during the day.  It is the teacher’s job to ensure that parents are being given an accurate and thorough description of what their child’s day entailed, what they struggled with (if anything), what they did well at, and any other interesting details.  The more details you provide to parents, the stronger the relationship will be, and the more trust they will place in the center.

Provide ample information: I’ve heard teachers and directors say that they worry about giving parents too much information. Their fear is that they will overwhelm them.  Parents want to hear about their child’s day. The number one thing in a parent’s life is their child.  Provide parents with detailed descriptions about what activities were done that day, what their child’s mood was, anything cute or funny they did, and information pertaining to the child’s development.  Utilize your center provided Ipad to take pictures, parents love to see them!

Provide additional resources for families: Recent surveys of the five centers conveyed to management that families are looking for additional resources that can aid in their child’s development at home.  Developmental screenings are done regularly, but be innovative about how development can be fostered at home too!

Be honest: The quickest way to harm a relationship with a parent is to be dishonest.  There is no reason to do so, and it will result in lack of trust a parent has in the center and staff.  The dishonest actions of one teacher often result in parents being skeptical of the entire staff.  It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. If a child get’s hurt, or is acting poorly, be honest about it! Parents would rather be told the hard-to-hear truth than be lied too.

Keep your room clean: Parents want to know that the room their child receives care in is clean, that toys are sanitized often, and bathrooms are disinfected regularly.  Daycares are hotbeds for communicable illnesses (flu’s, pink eye, hand, foot, mouth), but the center can take necessary precautions needed to ward of bacteria.  In addition, a clean room is appealing to the eye.  Get rid of clutter, clean daily, and make sure to vacuum at least once a day.  Parents will make judgements of the center based on it’s cleanliness. A center’s level of cleanliness conveys how much the staff personally cares for it.

Be appreciative of parent feedback: Parents will come to teachers with their concerns about their child’s education. It is their job as parents.  These concerns can sometimes be negative in nature.  Do your best to always remain calm, and remember that child care is a service industry, and we want to ensure our clients are satisfied with the service provided.  We cannot address every concern parents have, but we should always be open to feedback.

 

 

Burnout!

Teaching is difficult, time-consuming, emotionally draining, and physically tiring.  The child care industry is stressful. On a daily basis we nurture and teach children who are of differing ages and abilities, and pour our heart into educating them. It’s exhausting, and certainly results in burnout, a condition that we try to avoid but often succumb too. What if we didn’t have too? What if we could prevent burnout?

Burnout as defined by Herbert J Freuedenberg (famous Psychologist specializing in burnout) is “a state of fatigue and frustration brought on by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce expected rewards.”  In other words, burnout is due to being emotionally spent because of one’s commitment to something. Lawyers may become burned out after a difficult case they had been working for months on, and were deeply emotionally invested.  A husband might be burned out after emotionally investing in their wife, while not receiving that investment back. Burnout can affect any area of one’s life, and any profession.

What can trigger burnout?

  • pro-longed lack of sleep
  • working 40+ hours for a pro-longed period of time
  • lack of attention from of management
  • lack of personal support from colleagues
  • tense relationships with colleagues or bosses

What are the short-term and long-term effects of burnout?

Burnout.PNGInforgraphic source: bestmedicaldegrees.com

What are the symptoms of work-related burnout? (source: mindtool.com)

  • negative and critical attitude at work consistently
  • dread going to work
  • low energy and low work interest
  • feelings of emptiness
  • easily irritated
  • emotionally distant
  • feeling your contributions go unnoticed
  • ongoing sadness while at work

Is burnout an individual phenomenon, or does it affect teams too?

Burnout can in-fact affect both teams and individuals.  Burnout manifests itself in teams much in the same way it does in individuals.  Make sure to be on the lookout for some indicators that your team or a team member may be experiencing burnout (see infographic below).BurnoutInfographic Source: projectmanager.com

Reccomended Readings:

Promoting Self-Control in Children

Everyone that has stepped foot in a preschool classroom knows that all children have self-control problems.  You may have experienced a two-year old put his hand in a bowl of finger-paint just 30 seconds after you warned him not too. Or you may have witnessed your co-teacher discuss with the children in the 3-year old room the importance of keeping their hands to themselves, only to find two young boys hitting each other just minutes later.  Of course their are a million examples of lack of self-control displayed by children in a childcare setting, and they seem to be never ending, and as educators we feel helpless while dealing with them, but we aren’t.

What is Self-Control?

Dictionary.com defines “self-control” as “the ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of their behavior, especially in difficult situations.” Common synonyms include but are not limited to, “self-discipline,” “restraint,” “impulse control,” and “self-command.”

Why does Self-Control Matter?

Children are capable of learning self-control, and it is essential that they do.  According to Verywell.com, kids with self-control tend be more successful socially due to their ability to avoid peer pressure and solve problems.  Additionally, they are higher achievers academically.  Self-control is twice as important as intelligence in predicting academic success!

Why do Kids Struggle with Self-Control?

  • Children  struggle with self-control because they lack the knowledge to know what they can and cannot do.  Their abilities don’t allow them to do things they wish too, and so they become frustrated.  This frustration is manifested through temper tantrums, sadness, and misbehavior. As children age they obtain a better sense of their limits, but this takes time and risk-taking!

What can teachers do to assist in a child’s development of impulse control?

  • Make the children practice patience
    • It is inevitable that children will lack patience, but patience is like a muscle, and the only way to obtain more of it is to flex the patience muscle (in other words, to practice it).
  • Teach children to identify their emotions
    • No emotion is inherently wrong, but how we react to an emotion we are feeling is very important. We are not judged by the emotions we feel, but our actions.
  • Establish classroom rules of etiquette and a positive discipline system should rules be broken
    • To establish self-control children need to know what is considered “ok” and what is not.  When they do something that violates classroom rules, they will learn through positive discipline that is not “ok,” and they should refrain from doing that again.
  • Encourage children to practice activities that build self-discipline
    • Any sport, instrument, daily routine, act of memorization, etc. requires self-discipline, and forces children to complete a task even when they may not want too. Self-discipline takes patience, and fosters self-control.
  • Develop a daily schedule and stick to it
    • Children want and need consistency. Consistency in schedule displays that teachers are able to practice self-control themselves. Teachers too don’t want to do the same tasks each day, but doing so builds discipline.
  • Let children make small daily decisions (example: how to complete an art project, or how to build a house in block corner)
    • Allowing children to make decisions helps them realize that decisions and actions have consequences and will help them build their self-control.