Before talking about how to manage the aggressive behaviors let’s talk about what behaviors are.
Behavior is one way a child can communicate with the adults. All behavior, good and bad is how preschoolers can communicate and let others know what they need. When the child begins to demonstrate problem behaviors start documenting what is going on. You need to be very proactive and address the problems before the behaviors get out of control.
Behavior is just a symptom
One of the hardest things to do is figure out why your child is having problem behaviors. The behaviors are a symptom not the answer. Caregivers have to play detective in order to find out what is causing the aggression. Most of the time we don’t even know what the problems are, all the child know is something is wrong in their world.
So what do preschool teachers do to manage these behaviors?
- The major thing you can do is be sure the child is on a schedule. Not only to make things easier for you but also to manage the team, it gives the child the security of knowing what is going to happen each day at the same time. He is not going to like it because he is used to being the boss in the house.
- When you start trying to get him under control his behaviors are going to drastically increase. He is going to pitch fits, refuse to stay in his bed, throw things, scream and cry. If he gets out of his bed silently put him back in his bed. You don’t need to explain it to him, he knows he isn't to sleep in the parent’s bed anymore.
- While you’re working on the bedtime routine his behaviors are going to sky rocket. He is going to hit, bite, kick and scream. By the behavior getting worse proves that you are taking control back. He isn't going to like it but if you don’t get him under control before he gets bigger things aren't going to go well for him.
- As was mentioned earlier there is a reason for his aggressive behaviors. You are going to always be one step ahead of him at all times. Have a proposal ready so when you are in the middle of a battle you already know what steps you’re going to take because you’re going to want to throw your hands up and let him just do what he wants. It becomes very overwhelming when you are in the middle of battle.
- Use time-out. I know that it doesn't look like it’s going to work but if you will follow the steps you will see a difference. Here is an example: Your child hits someone on the playground. Teacher goes over to him where he had just thrown sand into one of the little girl’s eyes. Hopefully as part of your plan you have scouted out a place for time-out. When you get to him you simply tell him “there is no hitting” take him to the time-out chair and sit him down. You say nothing else. When he trips and runs you catch him and tell him, “There is no running from me.” Take him back to the chair. This may take a hundred times but be consistent and don’t give into him. When his time is up go give him a hug and make him tell the other child he is sorry.
So what do you think his motivation for this was? He wanted it his way and you started making rules. The normal tactics you have used in the past didn't work so it made him feel insecure. What he doesn't know is you’re going to keep this up. This will work for home and school; you just have to train the staff.
Keep in mind that this is going to be an ongoing way of disciplining him. Most likely he is going to start off with problem behaviors and when you do time out again he is going to increase the problem behavior. Teachers and parents need to be prepared that he is going to pitch one giant fit when he realizes everyone is working together and he has to follow the rules. Behaviors aren't going to change overnight but if you will keep doing as I am teaching you it will work. It may take a month or two to see the full impact of changing those problem behaviors.