Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.4: Contribute to enabling play environments
Learning outcome: Understand how the Early Years practitioner supports children’s behaviour and socialisation within play environments
Assessment criteria: Analyse strategies to support children to manage their own behaviour in relation to others
In Early Years settings it is important to develop strategies which will support children to manage their own behaviour in relation to others.
A useful strategy that we explored in the previous section is modelling positive behaviour.
A setting might have a code of conduct that can help children to understand the behaviour that is expected. This might include rules such as ‘Be kind to one another‘ or ‘Take turns‘.
Regular explanations and reminders of rules and expectations can help children to understand what is expected from them.
When children are displaying unwanted behaviour, practitioners must use a variety of strategies that depend on the situation and age/stage of development of the child.
Babies and younger children will usually not be able to focus on a single thing for very long, so distraction techniques can be used to transition them to more appropriate behaviours. For example, if a child is throwing wooden blocks, the practitioner might introduce them to a squishy ball that is safer for them to throw.
If a child is using unwanted behaviours to gain the attention of others, sometimes it can be useful to ignore the behaviour. And when the unwanted behaviour ceases, the practitioner can give them attention. This helps the child to understand that they do not need to use unwanted behaviour to get attention from others.
Older children will have a better understanding of which behaviours are acceptable, and practitioners can support understanding by explaining the potential repercussions of unwanted behaviours. Where possible, the consequences of an action should be natural (e.g. ‘if you continue to throw your teddy so high, it might go over the fence and be lost’).