It can be embarrassing to get a note or a phone call from your child’s teacher about their behavioural problems in school. Whether he said something nasty to a fellow student or got into a fight at recess, there’s no need to panic. Even the best of children slip up now and then.
How to Teach a Child to Behave in School?
If you find that your child has behavioural issues in school, there are several ways to break down the situation and understand and correct it. Here are some tips on how to work with a child with behaviour problems at school:
1. Establish Regular Communication with Your Child’s Teacher
The first step is assessing the situation to understand what may be driving your child toward bad behaviour. Is their misbehaviour an isolated incident or is he getting into trouble regularly? If it is the former, then monitor it for a few days to see if it resolves on its own. If it’s the latter, then get in touch with their teacher on a daily basis to learn about their behaviour.
Teachers generally have an established system of communication with the parents to keep them informed of children’s behaviour. Some may use smiley faces with colours such as green, yellow and red to indicate good and bad behaviour or some may prefer to write a quick note. Request them to send you this information on the child’s behaviour every day- and not only on the day the child misbehaves. Getting good smileys is a great morale booster for your child, and he will eagerly show you that he has had a good day at school.
2. Reward Good Behaviour
One of the best ways how to help your child behave in school is to reward and reinforce good behaviour. Appreciate him when he receives good remarks and reports from the teacher and celebrate his success to motivate him to keep it up. Setting up a reward system to act as an incentive for good behaviour is an idea that works very well. Establish daily behavioural goals and reward him when he reaches it. A simple goal would be to get 3 smileys from the teacher every day or five check marks for good behaviour.
His rewards need not cost you any money. Instead, a reward can be a set of privileges on a daily basis, such as extra video game time or anything else that he enjoys to the fullest. Daily rewards will help him stay motivated. You can offer him larger rewards on a weekly basis if he continues to achieve the daily goals for the whole week. A trip to his favourite play park or a play-date with his best friend is a good weekly reward.
3. Focus on the Positive
Going by the psychologists at the Child Mind Institute; instead of spending time correcting kids who misbehave, it’s more productive to praise kids who behave well. The point is to give more attention to good behaviour in children and less attention to disruptive behaviour in class. Since most children seek attention and praise, this approach will, over time, increase good behaviour.
For example, consider a child who blurts out a question without raising his hand or pokes another child ahead of him in the line. The teacher will find a child in the group who demonstrates good behaviour such as raising his hand before asking a question or follow line discipline and praise him for it.
4. Work with Them to Solve Problems
On days when your child is struggling with his behaviour, sit with him and come up with solutions on how he can do better the next day. Ask him what led to his behaviour and let him know you will help him to be better tomorrow. Talk with him calmly and ask for his inputs that might help. Kids can sometimes explain what went wrong and the solutions are often simple. He may have become disruptive because he is bored and the solution would be a more challenging task.
Sometimes, children misbehave to cover up something. For example, if they are unable to perform a task, they would be disruptive as they would rather appear “bad” than “stupid”. So they’d tend to act out instead of asking for help. If your child isn’t ready to talk about things, don’t push him. You can postpone it to when he is having a good day.
5. Get Outside Help
When instances of your kid misbehaving at school continue despite your efforts to solve the problems, it’s a good time to consult a therapist for your child. Get recommendations for a therapist who is willing to work with your child without using the medicinal approach at first. Consult someone who can help the child deal with the emotional issues causing them to act out in school and work alongside their teacher to improve them.
With patience and strategic intervention, it is possible to correct misbehaving children.
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