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Responding to children in a childcare setting with different developmental behaviors

As early childhood educators, we know our children are still on a journey of developing and growing physically and mentally. They're discovering how to communicate their ideas, manage their emotions, and navigate new surroundings with other children. It's inevitable that there may be some bumps in the road along the way!

For example, some may exhibit developmental behaviors such as:

★ Biting

★ Hitting

★ Throwing Objects

★ Refusing to listen

★ Lashing out

It's tempting to get distracted by a child's difficult behavior, but it's let's remember that this isn't necessarily an indication of who they are as individuals. Some are in the developmental stage, while others need guidance for the period, and we must offer support that allows them to understand their mistakes and become better children going forward. So here are some go-to tips for responding positively and effectively to children in a childcare setting with different developmental behaviors.

Switch-up the child's setting

Environmental Change can be invigorating, and the same holds true for those who may exhibit behavioral challenges that could disrupt other learners. Therefore, it's advisable to encourage these children to participate in a new activity or assist them in moving to another area - a calmer area, as this can help contain their behavior and protect the learning experience of the rest of your class. Once the student feels better and supported, they can return to the learning environment. A slight change of scenery can do wonders!

Giving parents a heads up

Sometimes, the challenge might not be related to academic performance but rather an emotional issue that extends beyond the school environment. But it's not easy to know whether the student's difficulties are school-based or something that extends to the home. Therefore, it is helpful to keep the child's family in the loop, letting them know about recurring behavioral issues and whether they have insight on how best to solve it. Responsible parents will always offer insight into the child's behavior and potential triggers and suggest a few solutions.

Observe the Antecedent's patterns

Observe the Antecedent: One of the most effective approaches to learning from challenging behaviors is understanding the antecedents. For example, what was the setup that caused the behavior after the child's tantrum or problematic behavior? Was there something specific that happened just before it? Were other children nearby, or was it too loud in the environment? By understanding these antecedents, you can create plans to avoid them and be better prepared should they happen again.


Routine helps reduce anxiety and challenging behaviors in preschoolers, so creating and maintaining regular classroom routines is essential. You can be Setting aside specific blocks of time for various activities helps kids better anticipate what they're doing throughout the day and can help prevent outbursts from those who don't want to move on from one activity. In addition, transition activities are great tools to help facilitate the shifts between activities.


Losing your temper can harm the relationship between you and the child & foster further misbehavior. Instead, keep a calm demeanor to serve as an example to the child and respond rationally. Often taking a deep breath can instill a sense of calmness and composure.

Reference: (2022). Responding to Challenging Behaviors. Retrieved from: Responding to Challenging Behaviors |

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Meet The Author

Pheolia Smith, Director of Operations

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