“I absolutely love it, the time, paper and pressure saved by joining Kids Club HQ has been unbelievable. I love it, the staff love it, and most importantly, the parents love it”
Beki Bulmer
PT Childcare

Cut the admin, stop the stress.

See how your club could run smoothly with Kids Club HQ.

Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Early Years

As early years providers, one of our most crucial roles is guiding children toward self-regulation of their behaviour. This foundational skill not only supports their personal, social, and emotional development but also sets the stage for a successful transition to school life.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework emphasises the importance of supporting the “learning, development, and care” of our children, which includes teaching them how to share, remain calm, and manage frustration.

This article will explore strategies for promoting better behaviour in early education settings, the vital role that the staff play in this process, and approaches to handling challenging behaviours.

Building the Foundation for Positive Behaviour

Imagine a place where every child feels understood, their laughter and curiosity filling the air. That’s the essence of positive behaviour management. It’s not just about guidelines; it’s about creating an environment where children feel safe to express themselves, explore, and engage in a world of possibilities.

Understanding Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions, behaviour, and body movement in different situations. It involves being able to resist impulsive actions or responses. For young children, developing self-regulation skills is a key part of their growth, enabling them to create positive social interactions and engage in learning more effectively.

Role of the Early Years Providers

Early years staff play a pivotal role in building and nurturing self-regulation skills. Through consistent, supportive interactions, children can learn to identify and understand their feelings, reduce impulsive actions, and interact positively with others.

Let’s delve deeper into the nurturing strategies that can significantly enhance children’s behaviour and emotional management:

Modelling Positive Behaviour

Children are keen observers, learning extensively from the adults around them. Demonstrating behaviours like calmness, sharing, and patience sets a live example for children to emulate. This approach not only teaches them valuable social skills but also instils in them the qualities of empathy and respect.

Creating a Supportive Environment

A space where children feel safe, valued, and understood is fundamental. Utilising positive language, recognising achievements, and showing empathy towards their feelings fosters an atmosphere of trust and encouragement. This environment helps children to openly express their emotions and feel supported in their experiences.

Setting Clear, Consistent Expectations

Children thrive in environments where expectations are clear and consistently applied. Establishing understandable rules and routines provides structure, aiding children in navigating their behaviour within set boundaries. Consistency across all staff in enforcing these rules reinforces their understanding and adherence, promoting a stable learning and growing environment.

Encouraging Emotional Literacy

Developing children’s ability to recognise, name, and manage their emotions is crucial for their emotional intelligence. Techniques such as storytelling, role-play, and open discussions offer valuable opportunities for children to explore various feelings and learn appropriate ways to respond. This education in emotional literacy is key to fostering resilient and empathetic individuals.

Fostering Independence

Empowering children by encouraging them to make choices and solve problems independently builds their confidence and decision-making capabilities. This empowerment is pivotal in developing their ability to self-regulate, enhancing their sense of autonomy and competence.

Positive Reinforcement

Acknowledging and rewarding positive behaviour reinforces a child’s motivation to continue exhibiting those behaviours. Consistent positive reinforcement not only affirms their actions but also boosts their self-esteem, encouraging a cycle of positivity and growth.

By weaving these strategies into the fabric of our interactions with children, we create a nurturing ecosystem that supports their holistic development—cultivating a generation that is emotionally intelligent, socially skilled, and resilient.

This foundation not only nurtures their growth but also prepares them to navigate the complexities of their emotions and interactions. However, even in the most nurturing environments, children will encounter moments of frustration and exhibit challenging behaviours.

The transition to addressing these moments constructively is an essential part of the learning journey, requiring patience, understanding, and a tailored approach to meet each child’s unique needs and circumstances.

Dealing with Challenging Behaviours

Despite the best environments and strategies, challenging behaviours will arise.

Here’s how to handle them constructively:

  • Stay Calm: Your calm response can de-escalate situations and serve as a model for self-regulation.

  • Understand the Behaviour: Often, challenging behaviour is a form of communication. Try to understand the underlying needs or feelings driving the behaviour.

  • Consistent Responses: Ensure that all staff respond to challenging behaviours consistently, based on agreed-upon strategies that prioritise empathy, understanding, and support.

  • Collaborate with Families: Work closely with parents and caregivers to understand the child’s needs and maintain consistency between the setting and home.

  • Seek Support When Needed: Don’t hesitate to seek additional resources or professional advice for persistent challenging behaviours.

The key to creating a cohesive support system for children is not just working with them at school but weaving this into their home lives as well. The magic happens when parents, educators, and after-school buddies join forces. Sharing insights about a child’s day, discussing any concerns, and working together on strategies for improvement can create a consistent support network for the child.

At home, engaging in open discussions about emotions, setting clear and consistent boundaries, and using positive reinforcement can significantly aid in a child’s ability to regulate their feelings and behaviours across different spaces.

This holistic approach ensures that children receive a uniform message about behaviour and emotional regulation, promoting their overall well-being and success in both school and home environments.

Here are some things you can encourage parents to do at home:

  • Consistent Structure and Routines: Similar to the school day, a structured routine in after-school clubs can provide a sense of security and predictability, helping children adjust and know what is expected of them.

  • Engaging Activities: Tailoring activities to meet the interests and developmental levels of the children can prevent boredom and disruptive behaviour, keeping them engaged and motivated.

  • Positive Reinforcement: Highlighting positive behaviours with praise or rewards encourages children to repeat those behaviours, promoting a positive atmosphere.

  • Clear Communication: Establishing clear, age-appropriate rules and expectations, and communicating them effectively to children and parents, is key to maintaining order and mutual respect.

  • Emotional Support: Providing a safe space for children to express their feelings and concerns can help mitigate behavioural issues stemming from emotional distress.

Out of school clubs not only provide a safe and structured environment for children to stay in after school hours but also play a significant role in their social, emotional, and academic development. These settings offer opportunities for children to explore new interests, develop friendships, and learn important life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving.

By fostering an environment of support, consistency, and understanding, we equip our children with the skills they need to navigate their emotions and interactions successfully. Remember, the journey of teaching self-regulation and positive behaviour is a gradual one, filled with learning opportunities for both children and staff.