Facts about Preschool Discipline
Anyone with a young child knows the challenges to be faced with behavior issues; teachers face that same problem, yet must develop a method of preschool discipline that is both acceptable and effective. It is a difficult issue that has many trains of thought.
The preschool age
Preschoolers are children between the ages of three and four. This age group can be alternately cuddly and adorable or stubborn and belligerent. This behavior is deemed to be the result of the secure dependency upon adults and the desire to pull away from it. It can be a very frustrating stage of growth for both the child and the adults around him.
In today’s world, it is common for preschoolers to attend a “school” of sorts while mom and dad work. In the past, many family members were homemakers who could babysit while parents were at work; now, however, economic conditions require that just about everyone have a job. Preschool is a time for children younger than school age to learn the art of getting along with others their same age and learn some of the basic tools that life requires. Preparation for kindergarten provides the child with the information they need to enter into their first phase of education.
Over the last several years, it has been noted that bad behavior on the part of preschoolers is on the rise. Behavioral issues such as temper tantrums, noncompliance in the classroom, aggression, destruction of property and withdrawal are commonly seen in preschool classrooms. If these problems are not addressed through corrective discipline at this young age, there are strong indicators that these behavioral issues can accelerate as the child ages.
Teachers of preschool children face disruptive behaviors every day, often by a handful of children. However, since this impressionable age group adopts behaviors of the more dominant children around them, the problem can spread faster than a wildfire if some type of discipline is not applied. Certain types of corrective measures have a greater effect on children, including:
- Consequences. Showing children the natural consequence of their actions can help them to see beyond their behavior. For example, “breaking a toy means that you are unable to play with it”, or “being selfish means other children will not want to include you in their play” allows a child to make a choice and experience the consequences. Then there are logical consequences; “if you will not take care of the toys, I will; then you will not be able to play with them”.
- Withholding privileges or pleasurable experiences. This disciplinary action works equally as well for parents as it does teachers. When a child chooses to behave in an unacceptable manner, they must give up an activity they enjoy or look forward to participating.
- Time out. Sometimes a child simply needs to be removed from the situation to cool off, and time out is a well perceived preschool discipline. Standing or sitting in a corner, either facing the wall or able to observe the antics of the other children, allows the child to reflect not only on their own behavior but to relax and slip into a better frame of mind.
Children between the ages of three and four are caught between the sweet days of babyhood and the burgeoning self-motivated and independent age that marks the beginning of childhood. It can be a confusing time, one that is flecked with both adorable obedience and maddening misbehavior. It is important to remember that often the child is unable to discern between what is right and what is the wrong type of behavior; and that any preschool discipline that is not educating the children simply will not work.