Children who feel discouraged about their ability to belong are more likely to misbehave.

How you respond plays a huge role in their development. Kids are learning. What you may think of as “misbehavior” may be them learning how the world around them works. Accidents also happen. You have to teach them that accidents are okay. An easy example is if someone spills their drink. Instead up getting upset, let them know it’s okay and have them help you clean it up. Tell them to be careful next time so they can prevent it from happening.

If they are making bad choices in class, ask them to make a different choice. They typically know good and bad and see if they can come to the decision on their own. This makes them feel like they made their own choice and you get to praise them for better actions!

Use positive reinforcement. If a child keeps picking up a mat and moving it. Instead of saying “don’t move that mat” try saying “let’s leave the mat here so everyone can have a turn.”

Hovering. Sometimes this can go a long way. If you stand by a child that traditionally acts out and they know you are watching they will use better behavior and judgement.

Talk to them on their level. Get down on a knee. This helps take away the intimidation of a large/power/authority figure.

Change “go” to “come.” It’s a small difference but has a BIG meaning!

Say their name first. If you give a direction with their name at the end, they will not hear anything before you say their name. Start with that so they know you are speaking directly to them.

Let them make the rules. At the beginning of class have them come up with 1 or 2. They are more likely to follow them if they made the up.

Give Transition Countdowns. 3 more minutes, 2 more minutes, 1 more minute. This helps children know that change is coming.