The Problem With Reputation
According to Science Daily, one of the fundamental problems linked to a child’s behavior is rooted in reputation. Depending on the child’s classroom behavior, he is likely to develop a certain reputation among the teachers and other children. This makes it harder for the child to start behaving well. A study carried out by Professor Maggie MacLure and Professor Liz Jones of Manchester University showed that a bad reputation will often lead to teachers reading the child’s daily behavior as a “problem” – behavior that might otherwise be looked past when displayed by other children.
According to the New York University School of Medicine, there are certain factors that separate a child’s behavior determined by the immediate situation with behavior determined by influences that lie beyond the immediate. For this reason, a “poor” reputation developing around certain kids and not others is almost inevitable. These factors will likely include problems at school, on the journey to school, with friends outside of school and so on. Included in this list should also be the specific and individual vulnerabilities of the child. For this reason, some children are bound to handle situations differently from others. This is when the labeling of “naughty” child and “good” child takes place.
Understanding the Problem
In an article published by PBS Teachers, written by Amy McCart and Anna Turnbull, it is suggested that before trying to prevent or provide a solution to any negative behavior, the teacher should attempt to understand it. Understanding the cause of a certain behavioral problem is the first step toward solving it. Problematic students are most likely simply communicating a need. This could be the need to escape a situation they don’t feel comfortable in, or the need to obtain something.
Promoting Desired Behavior
Often, according to PBS, the need that the child is trying communicate is the attention of the teacher. To promote good behavior among all students, it is important that you provide attention to generally desired behavior and not bad behavior. If a student who finds it difficult to sit still manages to sit in his chair for a whole hour, make it clear that he’s made you proud. Give him a sticker or a piece of candy. Reward is a powerful force and, when implemented correctly, it works to gear children toward what is expected of them in the classroom.
Try distracting your child when you take him into the classroom prior to leaving, advises Joan Simeo Munson, a Colorado-based psychologist, for Empowering Parents, a child behavioral website. For example, if he tends to have a meltdown as you’re leaving, try taking him over to where his friends are playing and getting him involved in an activity so that he becomes focused on the activity on not on you leaving.
Stay calm, advises KidsHealth.org. The worst thing you can do when your child is having a meltdown in the classroom is lose your patience. This does nothing but exasperate the situation. Take a deep breath, count to 10 or just close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine yourself in a happy place before you calmly direct your child to calm down.
Ignore your child’s meltdown if it is not out of control, advises National Association of School Psychologists. You can continue to talk to your child’s teacher while she melts down, giving her attention only when she ceases to misbehave. However, if her meltdown is too distracting to the rest of the class, simply take her to a place away from the other students and instruct her to stand or sit there until she has calmed down. Children often throw tantrums for the simple reason of getting attention and they don’t care whether that attention is negative or positive, which is why not feeding into negative behavior can help promote positive behavior.
Discuss your child’s meltdown with him after the fact, advises Smart Classroom Management. When he is calm, it is a good idea to discuss why he behaved this way, why his behavior is inappropriate and what he can do in the future to handle his emotions without behaving in such a negative manner.
Warn your child that if she continues her meltdown in class, you will enforce consequences for her actions. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, good consequences for children include anything from taking away privileges such as dessert after dinner to a time-out.
Your child’s kindergarten teacher will expect him to independently care for himself in simple ways. Parents can help ready children for the classroom by ensuring that they know how to zip or button their own coats and fasten their own shoes. If children can’t yet tie their shoes, they need slip-on or hook-and-loop closure shoes. Kindergarteners should be able to independently use the bathroom, wash their hands and blow their noses by themselves. It’s also important that they can clearly say their name, address and phone number.
Be a Good Listener
Being able to listen, both to the teacher and to classmates, is an essential skill for kindergarten students. One of the best and most enjoyable ways to build a preschooler’s listening ability is to read aloud to him. Sharing picture books and singing songs with your child on a daily basis helps build listening skills, increase vocabulary and lengthen attention span. Enrolling your youngster in play groups, public library storytimes and preschool classes are all effective ways to prepare him for listening to adults and participating as a member of a group.
Get Along With Others
A kindergartener’s social skills are every bit as important as his academic readiness. Parents can help build a child’s social skills by setting up play dates with friends. Take every opportunity to explain the concepts of taking turns and sharing. Parents should monitor their preschooler’s disputes with other children, encouraging them to compromise to solve problems. A child who solves conflicts with words will get along well with others in the classroom.
Be Ready to Learn
Having certain academic readiness skills positions your child to master the kindergarten curriculum. Well-prepared kindergarteners recognize letters and know their numbers up to 10. Sharing alphabet and counting books with your preschooler will ready him for reading and arithmetic. All kindergarteners should be familiar with the names of basic colors and shapes. Having experience with pencils, markers and crayons before they come to school will help new kindergarteners quickly adapt to the writing they will learn in the classroom.
Reading to a large group of students is an activity teachers do on a daily basis. An activity that works well at the elementary level is to divide the children into small groups. A parent is designated one small group and reads an appropriate age-level book to these children. The parent reads the book aloud while holding the book so that the children may see both the pictures and the words associated with the reading. The additional help will stimulate the child at the appropriate intellectual age.
Involve parents at the elementary level in inclusive classrooms when completing art projects that include cutting, gluing or painting. The fine motor skills required to cut, glue or paint are developed at this grade level. Chose art projects that have large pieces to practice these skills. Examples include making paper snowflakes, tissue paper flowers and a holiday turkey.
Science - Growing Cycle
The growing cycle is an area in science that is taught at all grade levels. Include parents in this activity during the planting process. The extra hands help to contain the soil on the tables and in the containers especially in an inclusive classroom. Clean-up is faster with another set of hands in the room and also provides classroom supervision during the process.
Exploration Activities - Fossil Hunt
Involve parents in an exploration activity such as a fossil hunt within an inclusive classroom. The lesson begins by preparing sand trays or sand tables with buried fossils or plastic dinosaurs. The anticipatory set for the fossil hunt starts with a story about dinosaurs, how they became extinct and how they turned into fossils. Once the students are excited, break them into small groups and place several students at each area to dig for fossils. Parental involvement in this activity helps to keep the students focused on the activity at hand and the sand in a confined area.