Let’s think about behaviour

When we think about children’s behaviour we tend to use the term ‘managing children’s behaviour’.  But do you ever stop to reflect on why a child is behaving in a certain way?

Should we really be ‘managing behaviour’ or should we be trying to understand and support children’s behaviour.  Children behaviour is a direct response to how they are feeling.  As adults working with young children, we need to support them by giving them the tools to understand and manage their own feelings.

Do you have realistic expectations about children’s behaviour that are age and stage appropriate?

In order to support children’s behaviour we need to have a clear understanding about personal, social and emotional development (PSED).  EYFS 2017[1] states that ‘Personal, social and emotional development involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves, and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities’

What is behaviour?  Basically put, it’s how we communicate our emotions and express our feelings, how we respond to others and how others respond to us.  PSED is broken down into 3 sections self-confidence and self-awareness, managing feelings & behaviour and making relationships

Children’s behaviour and reactions to different situations is dependent on individual circumstances as well as the age of the child and their understanding of the situation.  Knowing the types of events and experiences that may affect behaviour will help us to adopt our techniques to suit the individual child.  We therefore need to clearly understand each individual ‘unique child’ and ensure we have positive relationships with all children allowing them to have good attachment with their key person who can support them through the building blocks of having feelings. 

The PSED[2] guidance outlines three building blocks for having feelings these are experiencing feelings, knowing and naming feelings and managing feelings.   Have you stopped to review how you support children with these building blocks?  In order to do this, we need to think about giving encouragement, setting limits and having consistent messages from all staff.

Development Matters[3] section gives us ideas to support children, it looks at the expected behaviour along with what the adult  can do to support children and ideas of what to provide with the environment  to support behaviour.  It covers feelings, behaviour, rules and understanding consequences.

The best way to describe behaviour is to share this film Just Breathe [4] by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman who have captured children voices around understanding of  emotions.

If you would like to look in more detail around supporting children’s behaviour you can join Mary at our Supporting and Understanding Children’s’ Behaviour training on 9th October.  If you would like to attend you can book via our website here, call 07495 342 223 or email contact@quality4earlyyears.com

[1] Statutory Framework for the Early years Foundation Stage. DfE 2017

[2] Personal, Social and Emotional development Sure Start Training Materials Section 5: Having Feelings

[3] EYFS Development Matters 2012

[4] Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films) www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVA2N6tX2cg