How to Master Behavior Management in Kindergarten

Posted by Korbalagae On September 7, 2022

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Behavior management strategies are a teacher’s bedrock. Before planning educational or academic content teachers should spend a good amount of time being sure that the learning environment actually allows for learning. We’ve all been there though when we didn’t plan or things didn’t quite go to plan.

In the next few points below I’ll share some questions to consider when setting-up or adjusting your classroom behavior management plan.

🤔 Why should you build your classroom agreements/rules together?

Children need to have a say in their world. Have you been in a staff meeting that you felt completely disconnected from? I know I have 🙄 and though there are several reasons, one was I had no voice. I was being talked at or taught to not talked with…this happens ten times more for your students. They spend the bulk of their day being told

  • what to do
  • how to stand
  • how to sit
  • what not to do
  • how to sing
  • how to talk on and on and on the list is exhausting.

Image Credit Universal Pictures Kindergarten Cop

But the teachers who allow their children to have a say in their world actually do both themselves and their students a big favor. In my former IB school in DC we had essential agreements. This was huge because the wording lets you know that everyone was involved in deciding how we operate in this classroom and encourages buy-in from everyone.

🧐 How do you empower children to develop self-regulation skills?

Let’s start with the important thing: What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behaviors in accordance with the demands of the situation. Said more simply it’s your ability to understand what behaviors are appropriate for a given situation and then display them.

When you allow children to participate in developing rules for how their classroom will function you are encouraging them to develop their self-regulation skills.

When you talk about behaviors that are inappropriate you are also encouraging self-regulation.

When you give key phrases that are repeated throughout the day that prompt children to specific behaviors like – 1,2,3 all eyes on me you are helping them to develop self-regulation.

When you talk about how to handle anger is also helping them develop self-regulation skills.

Why do you want to focus on this skill? Well it takes some of the pressure off you as a teacher and children who have tools to be able to cope with difficult situations are more likely to behave in ways that are acceptable.

🧐 Why do you need to understand what typical behaviors can be expected at each stage of development?

1.use it as a teachable moment or help children to avoid it all together.

Look for opportunities to acknowledge children’s efforts and outcome when appropriate. Reinforce behaviors that you want to see by pointing them out. It doesn’t need to be in front of the entire class because remember not all children may like this. A quiet statement to a child will do wonders for getting them to display behaviors you know they need. It also makes your behavior management more personal.

🧐 How can seeing behaviors as expressions of problem solving gone awry be helpful?

Learning to look at behaviors from your students as problem solving gone awry is a great way to reframe things. If students are only trying to solve a problem then you can guide them. They may experience unintended outcomes and they may not have seen all the implications of their actions. I mean they’re only 5 but with you as their guide they can better understand.

Now it can be hard but if you use questioning with the intent to understand exactly what children are thinking it can help them to behave in more appropriate ways. This approach also helps them to become better problem solvers.

🧐 Are you able to check yourself?

Being a reflective and reflexive teacher is an ambitious goal. To be able to do so we need to check ourselves.

Are the behaviors you’re seeing the problem or are your expectations the issue?

Is the classroom you designed and love actually conducive for learning?

Are you tailoring the learning and how it’s being delivered to the children in front of you or are you just using strategies you like?

Checking ourselves can be hard, especially if we’ve been in the field for a while but it’s a great way to improve our practice. Take the temperature of your classroom. When was the last time you consciously checked in with your students? Do you know what the overall vibe is in your classroom?

With everything happening both inside the classroom and outside it can get tough and as a result problems may go unspoken. Problems that are unspoken often emerge as unpleasant behaviors so be sure to check in with your kiddos every day or every week at least. You can do this through class meetings that are relaxed and conversational or individual meetings with student

There. This one was just for you to help you reconnect with your actual expectations and actions.

Now I’ve shared 5 rather non-conventional ways of thinking through behavior management.

✅ Why should you build your classroom agreements together?

✅ How do you empower children to develop self-regulation skills?

✅ Why do you need to understand what typical behaviors can be expected at each stage of development?

✅ How can seeing behaviors as expressions of problem solving gone awry be helpful?

✅ Are you able to check yourself?

How do you think through behavior management? Love to hear from you.


Yassah-Rose Early Learning makes teaching kindergarten easier for teachers like you!


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