Well here it is! There were so many great questions and so little time! I’ve supplemented with some links below. Please add your links and input in the comment section as well!
(By the way, on my computer the video seems a bit smoother over at YouTube for some reason. It won’t hurt my feelings if you watch it there– just promise to come back and join in the discussion!)
On-Task Behavior and Developmentally Appropriate Practice (0:10)
As a parent, how do I know what is DAP in my child’s various classrooms? (1:27)
Resources for Developmentally Appropriate Practice:
Basics of Developmentally Appropriate Practice by Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp
DAP Statements from NAEYC
DAP: What Does it Meant to Use Developmentally Appropriate Practice (From right here at NJC!)
Should food be used as sensory or art medium? (4:22)
Letter of the Week Dilemma (8:33)
Why Don’t You Teach Reading? A Look at Emergent Literacy
A Culture of Literacy: Teaching Preschoolers the ABC’s and More (More articles linked there.)
Preschool Tattle-Tells (10:23)
How do I stay consistent with my child’s behavior when I know it’s caused by physical factors? (11:50)
Parenting with Positive Guidance: Building Discipline from the Inside Out
Children and Nature (14:01)
Why Our Children Need Nature
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Children & Nature Network
The Grass Stain Guru
Add your links and tips below as well! And keep those First Friday Questions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org, with Q&A in the subject line!
A friend of mine recently told me his sister was extremely worried about her son’s behavior. He was bouncing off the walls, getting into mischief, and extremely stubborn. After some time stewing over her predicament, her mother gave her a call.
“I think I know what’s causing all these problems.”
It is important to remember that many challenging child behaviors, while not socially appropriate, are in fact age-appropriate. Toddlers bite, three year-olds are often stubbornly independent, and preK’s are notoriously fascinated by “potty talk”. So what are we to do with these challenging phases of childhood?
Step One: Recognize the Driving Force
It’s important to examine what’s going on and recognize what developmental aspect may be fueling the behavior. Many children “go through a phase” when they are learning a new skill (or are about to). The phase is a driving force that causes the child to make sense of a new situation, adapt in a new way, or try on a new skill.
- Toddlers often bite because of a lack of verbal abilities (it’s easier for them to bite than to say “I’m angry”). They may also be teething and/or seeking oral stimulation, either of which could drive them to biting.
- A three year-old’s drive for independence is what fuels so much of their learning and growth. If they weren’t wired to try to do everything themselves, when would they develop the physical skills to dress themselves or climb into their carseats?
- PreK’s often engage in potty talk as they become independent and personally responsible for those bathroom duties, and as their social development drives them toward more attention-seeking behavior. (More on Putting a Stop to the Potty Talk.)
Step Two: Teach and Redirect
While phases may be driven by normal development, and may even naturally extinguish themselves, what was once merely a phase can quickly become habit if it’s being reinforced or too frequently ignored. It is important to teach children how to appropriately deal with whatever their specific challenge may be.
- Toddlers can be supported in developing verbal skills as you label and validate their emotions, and can get necessary stimulation from crunchy foods and teethers.
- Three year-olds can be scaffolded for tasks beyond their abilities (break down the task into smaller pieces, “You do____ and then I’ll help with____,”). Simply planning ahead and allowing more time for them to complete new tasks can also soothe frustrations.
- PreKs can be redirected to appropriate attention-getters like knock-knock jokes and tongue-twisters (find some here).
Going through a phase isn’t a blank check for bad behavior, but it also isn’t a tell-tale sign of a life of deviance. Think of a phase as a indication of developmental readiness. It shows that a child is ready to learn a new skill, be that social, physical, or emotional. Support the children you love and teach through the developmental process, directing and guiding as they wend their way through the work of childhood.
Top photo by Andrew C.