How many times have you heard your child’s teacher describe your child as a model student and wondered why it is not the case at home or, vice versa, heard her describe a disruptive child when appropriate behavior is the norm at home. This is quite normal with very young children, but should balance out as your child prepares to enter pre-primary. There are factors though that can promote or hinder the process in any environment. Check through this list to see if some points seem familiar:
Could there be a physical reason? Exhaustion could be due to very challenging days or not enough sleep which is more than enough reason for children to feel uncooperative. Also, children are not able to explain if they are coming down with an illness, they cannot describe a headache or a feeling of malaise.
Are expectations appropriate to development? Children develop different areas of their development at different times. S/he may be asked to meet expectations they are not yet ready for. As classes in particular may have children that are very varied in age, the one size fits all system may not fit well at all.
Are guidelines, routines, and rules clear and consistent? Perhaps the school environment’s structure is predictable and well communicated whereas the environment at home is inconsistent and full of loop holes or chaos reigns in a busy classroom with a harried teacher?
Is inappropriate behavior being fed? Is the child getting attention for the wrong reasons? To a child even negative attention is better than none at all. So by failing to recognize a child’s true efforts to behave appropriately while chastising and punishing regularly when inappropriate, we are simple reinforcing the more attention-seeking version of behavior.
Is your child being heard? Often children have long explained their point of view but have not been acknowledged, they then proceed with their plan and it is then that they are chastised. Try an early reminder of appropriate behavior.
Are we seeing a pattern? Sometimes we view a regular portion of repetitive difficult behavior in a bubble and label it”personality”. If a child reacts with constant difficulty it may simply mean that what happens before that moment needs to change; new and consistent steps need to be created.
Lastly,remember that children mimic behaviors of other children and the adults around them. Could they be in the company of those that also behave that way? Hmm, lots to think about, isn’t there?