Supporting Children's Behavior

With their teachers’ support, preschoolers are learning how to regulate their emotions, attention, and behaviors

Child and teacher high five and smile

What You Need to Know

Children are supported to manage their behavior when they know what to expect, their needs are met, and they are valued for who they are. Adults can help by establishing consistent routines and clear expectations. When they are aware of children’s needs, adults can meet them where they are and provide support. Then children can develop the skills they need to be aware of and manage their behavior. When adults focus on the behaviors that help children to succeed, they are more likely to occur. It is important for children to be actively engaged and have a say in their daily lives.

What It Looks Like

A quick glance at how you can clearly communicate expectations and help children engage positively in the classroom

Reinforce Positive Behaviors

When children are displaying behaviors that you want to see, acknowledge the ways in which they are in control of their movement and behavior.

Use Cues to Transition

Cues help children know what to do without needing a lengthy verbal explanation. Use cues, such as songs or lights, to prompt or remind children about what they should be doing and how they should be doing it.

Support Following Expectations

When you provide clear expectations and routines, children know what to do and how to do it. When they follow these expectations and routines, positively reinforce their behaviors.

COVID-19 ADAPTATIONS

Supporting Children's Positive Behaviors

In this webinar, educational coaches Stephanie Adams and Caitlin Powell present strategies we can use to support children’s positive behaviors in a hybrid or physically distanced classroom environment.

Teacher encouraging a child while he plays
teacher with small group of children

CLASSROOM STRATEGIES

Supporting Children's Behavior

Explore four research-based strategies for supporting positive behaviors in the classroom. Learn about the key elements that make these strategies work and see teachers using them to help young children engage successfully in the classroom.

TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE

Applying a Trauma-Informed Lens

Dr. Eleonora Cahill illustrates how applying a trauma-informed lens can help us to effectively support children’s behavior in the classroom.

FAMILY CONNECTION

Supporting Families in Managing Behaviors

Dr. Rosemarie Allen from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations talks with two mothers about their experiences with school suspension.

CONSIDERING EQUITY

Disrupting Implicit Racial Bias

This NPR segment describes research on preschool teachers’ implicit racial biases and how it can cause them to expect more problem behavior from Black boys.

SUPPORTING BEHAVIOR WITH BOOKS

You Are a Lion

You Are a Lion, written and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo, guides children through simple and relaxing animal yoga poses.

Book cover with lion and boy roaring
Book cover with boy with his eyes closed

SUPPORTING BEHAVIOR WITH BOOKS

Listening to My Body

Listening to My Body, written by Gabi Garcia and illustrated by Ying Hui Tan, helps children practice calming down by noticing their bodies’ signals and feelings.

Activity Cards

Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways you can help children to practice focusing their attention, movements, and behavior.
Move and regulate

Freeze

Encourage children to engage in various movements and “freeze” when you call out.

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AIM AND FOCUS

Kicking Goals

Practice concentration and coordination by passing and scoring goals.

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Transitions with music

Drum Cues

Use musical cues to signal that it is time to transition and to help children stay on task.

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breathe and move

Yoga: Animal Poses

Calm down by connecting movement with breath in an animal yoga flow.

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Get Our Resource Guide

Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of our core social-emotional skills