Education Station Archive

Tips to Prevent Challenging Behaviors

Sometimes parents and child care providers feel frustrated by the behavior of a child and don’t know what to do. The list below offers a few practical strategies you can use to prevent challenging behavior.

• Gain children’s attention before giving directions
• State rules positively and specifically
• Minimize the number of directions
• Give children time to respond to directions
• Use a variety of ways to teach expectations
• Use strategies in a consistent and systematic way
• Enforce rules and consequences consistently and fairly
• Notice children’s behavior and modify plans when appropriate
• Give choices and options when appropriate
• Demonstrate active listening (with children)
• Avoid judgmental statements
• Frequently reinforce children’s appropriate behavior
• Give descriptive praise
• Recognize children’s efforts
• Teach children that all emotions are okay, but not all expressions are okay
• Help children label their emotions and find an appropriate action to express their feelings
• Help children to find a solution to resolve the situation
• Treat each child as an individual taking into consideration his or her unique temperament and

Resource: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning