Many children with “challenging behaviors” have triggers. Often teachers focus on the end reaction, which can be hitting, biting, kicking, running out of the room,etc. Regular observations will assist in accurately identifying the the problem or trigger. Before a teacher may refer a child for behavior consultation, it is best practice to write down the behavior, the time of day, activity.
It is recommend that teachers document behavior for a week. The behavioral observations are reviewed with the director. The teaching team look for patterns. Are the behaviors observed during transition times? Is the child having difficulty communicating? Are there cultural differences? Is the child a Dual Language Learner? There are many factors that could be a trigger to the “challenging behaviors”.
Discussing all of the observations and finding triggers leads to a plan to support the child. Sometimes making small changes to the schedule, assigning a person to shadow the child or limiting the amount of trasitions makes a big difference for a child.
This process helps teachers to see what is really happening. “Challenging behavior” is an opportunity to teach a child social-emotional skills. Afterall, a preschooler is just beginning to manage himself or herself in social situations. While the teaching team may feel challenged by the child’s behavior, it is most often a matter of providing a predictable daily routine and support social skill development. See through the behavior and see the child. Where is he/she at? What skills does the teaching team need to practice with the child? Make a plan to support the child!