Tips for guiding children's behaviour

15 Jan 2019

Some great tips and resources to help with guiding children's behaviour.

Learning acceptable behaviour and being able to control behaviour, is a key challenge faced by children in their early years and an area that we as Educators play an integral part in teaching through our daily curriculums and interactions.

We work together with families to support children to develop these skills by guiding their behaviour in positive, supportive and age appropriate ways.

Below are our tops tips to promoting these positive behaviours while keeping our own emotions in check.

Set clear expectations

Children thrive when provided with clear expectations for behaviour and when those standards are enforced consistently. When setting rules and limits, it’s important that you match these expectations to the child’s age and capacity. Be sure they are enforceable and that you are prepared to stand by your word. 

Your focus should be on rewarding good behaviour, this will help children to understand what is expected of them. A top tip from our Educators is to do what you can to catch them being good!

Keep cool

Children follow our lead. If we get anxious and raise our voice so will they. It’s important as Educators that we recognise our own triggers and develop strategies for dealing with these situations. Our top tips include:

  • Walk away for a moment to gather your thoughts… and breath!

  • Listen actively. This shows children that their feelings are important. Use your eyes to listen and make eye contact where possible. It’s important that we listen and encourage children to listen to others.

  • Get down on the child’s level, use a soft and quiet voice. Being close helps children to focus on what


    are saying.

  • View the situation through their eyes.

  • Wait for the right time to teach - a lesson is best delivered when the situation, the child and you are calm.

Teach rather than punish 

When promoting positive behaviour, it is important to teach the behaviour you would like to see rather than punish the child. As Educators, we need to teach expected behaviours and provide plenty of opportunities for children to practice in a variety of settings. Support children to exhibit the right behaviours by providing prompts and reducing triggers, and reinforce positive behaviours through feedback and rewards.

Punishment is ineffective and focuses on showing the child what not to do rather than helping him or her learn what to do. Punishment does not teach alternative behaviour, or give a child practice at using more appropriate behaviour. We also risk losing the trust and connection that we have worked so hard to build.

Facilitate active play

Ensuring children are engaged and physically active helps to deal with boredom and frustration, which can often be at the root of challenging behaviour. When facilitating activities in a childcare setting, it’s important to consider age appropriate and safe equipment and provide opportunities for a variety of indoor, outdoor, solitary and group play.

At Oac we are proud to offer our children access to our Oac Active Program.  Specifically developed by a qualified Sports Science Programmer, Oac’s Active Program focuses on a child’s overall wellbeing, self-confidence and gross motor skills and is incorporated in our daily age-based curriculums.


Helpful resources