GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – With the pandemic keeping children at home for most of this year, experts expect difficult behaviors to escalate when children return to school. Chronic behaviors such as crying, hitting, or even biting can create a cycle in which teachers may react negatively to disruptive behavior, reducing opportunities for learning. However, there are tips on how to promote positive behaviors that will help children learn.
Whether it’s shopping or playing difficult games, kids will be kids. But some behaviors can be more extreme than others.
Maureen Conroy studies socio-emotional learning in young children and says difficult behaviors that often occur and are intense, like hitting or kicking others, can interfere with a child’s learning. In fact, nearly 75% of teachers report that difficult behaviors had a moderate to severe impact on their ability to meet the needs of other children. If these difficult behaviors are not treated early, they can lead to negative results years later.
âThey may be even more likely to end up dropping out of school,â said Maureen Conroy, PhD, Anita Zucker Endowed Professor at the University of Florida.
Conroy co-developed the Best in Class intervention. It teaches children behavioral expectations and rules and routines that apply to any environment: a friend’s house, the grocery store, or a library.
âWe use our inner voices. We use our walking feet. We listen with our ears, âcontinued Conroy.
Provide corrective feedback when difficult behavior occurs by showing children other behavior. Offer praise to show your approval of the appropriate behavior or responses. Conroy found that when teachers were properly coached on techniques for dealing with difficult behaviors, children’s difficult behaviors decreased and they had more positive socio-emotional engagement with teachers and their peers.
âTeachers can use it throughout the day, on daily teaching occasions rather than taking children in and out. And that way the kids learn what to do in these activities, âConroy said.
Promote positive interactions and relationships.
Social scientists say parents play an important role. This program established a home-school partnership focused on sharing information on the child’s behavior. The study found that coaching teachers and parents can help tackle difficult behaviors.
Contributors to this report include: Cyndy McGrath, executive producer; Milvionne Chery, producer in the field; and Roque Correa, editor-in-chief.
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).