How can I approach parents when I have concerns about their child's aggressive behavior?

One of the most important components of high-quality child care is positive communication between a child care provider and parents. Communication is not  easy, especially when addressing concerns about their children. Here are a few simple strategies child care providers can use to communicate concerns with parents.

  • Use “I” messages. They will help you speak honestly about your feelings without placing blame on the parent. Focus on how you are feeling and how behaviors affect you or other children. Try

What are the views and opinions of praise versus encouragement for young children?

Most studies report that encouraging children is better for their development than giving them praise. Encouragement promotes the child’s self-motivation and autonomy. This type of positive reinforcement allows them to choose their own standards of achievement without depending on comparison with others or unrealistic expectations. An example of encouragement may include general statements about a child’s work, such as, “It looks like you worked really hard on that painting,” or “Your picture is very colorful — you must be very …

What is the difference between discipline and punishment?

Discipline is a positive method of teaching a child self-control, confidence, and responsibility. The key to positive discipline is teaching a child what behavior is okay and what behavior is not okay. The focus is on what children are expected and allowed to do. It includes catching kids being good and encouraging appropriate behavior. It also includes modeling appropriate behavior. Punishment is quite different from discipline. Punishment may be physical as in spanking, hitting, or causing pain. It may be …

Why do some toddlers bite other children? How can child care providers prevent biting before it happens?

Biting is common among very young children, particularly in group settings such as child care. It is very important for child care providers to understand why children bite so that they can help children find more appropriate ways to express themselves.

There are many reasons why young children bite. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Children may be trying to express their independence and feel a sense of personal control.
  • Babies’ mouths are sore when teething; biting feels

Guidance and Discipline in Child Care

Little girl with soccer ball

Guiding children’s behavior is one of the biggest challenges many child care providers face. Choosing and using the most appropriate guidance and discipline practices focus on ways to encourage and strengthen positive behavior, ways to prevent misbehavior, and ways to manage misbehavior when it occurs.

The following articles provide basic information to help child care providers guide the behavior of young children in the child care setting.

Preventing Misbehavior

The first step in guiding young children’s behavior is to anticipate …

Social and Emotional Development in Child Care

Smiling boy

Children reach important milestones in the development of their emotions, and in their abilities to relate to others around them. Child care providers are in an important position to support and promote positive social and emotional development. For tips and ideas on supporting children’s social and emotional development in child care, check out the following articles.

Social and Emotional Milestones

Helping Children in Child Care Handle Anger

Angry todler

Anger and frustration are common emotions for young children. Child care providers can help young children learn how to handle anger in productive ways by helping them identify angry feelings, understand that anger is normal, and express their anger in healthy ways.

Helping Children Label Angry Feelings

Remember that young children do not automatically understand emotions. Giving children the words to label feelings will help them recognize and respond to emotions, both in themselves and in others.

Reading children’s books …

Dealing with Rivalry among Children in Child Care

Boy pouting

Constant bickering and fighting can turn an otherwise peaceful child care program into a battleground filled with yelling and shoving. Some conflict among children is to be expected. Children seek the attention of their child care providers, whose time and energy are limited. Most young children have a hard time seeing other people’s point of view, and so they think their needs are the most important. If one child has to wait when a child care provider is busy with …

Handling Challenging Behaviors in Child Care

Girl pouting

Sometimes children in child care have difficult days. They may cry, scream, bite, throw things, or act out in other ways that are very challenging to child care providers. Luckily, there are many different ways to handle these challenging behaviors. The following articles suggest some ways to deal with behaviors such as biting, crying, temper tantrums, and rivalry between children that may frustrate both you and the children’s families.

Biting

Encouragement Is More Effective Than Praise in Guiding Children's Behavior

Adult hugging baby

Many child care providers try to help children feel confident by praising them. But encouragement is actually more effective than praise in building children’s confidence. But overusing praise can actually lower children’s self-esteem and make them more competitive and less cooperative.

The Difference Between Praise and Encouragement

Praise and encouragement are very different. Praise focuses on what the adult thinks or feels, and often includes a judgment such as “good.” Praise statements starting with “I like…” send a subtle message …