Here are more suggestions from NWK for managing young children.
- Before handing out materials, especially dangerous, fragile or noisy, demonstrate proper behaviors and have students repeat them back to you.
- Make sure they know that if they cannot use the materials properly, they will lose the privilege of working with them. (Note: Give a child another chance after several minutes but first remind him/her of proper behaviors and have him/her repeat them back to you again.)
- Try asking children, “Do we do this?” and having them respond, “No, no, no!” or “Yes, yes, yes!” with appropriate gestures.
- Designate a blanket, rug or other specific area for them to be when they need to listen. Make a rule that they can sit any way they want but they cannot touch/bother others.
Be on their side.
- Avoid getting locked into a battle of you against the class or you against an individual child. Remember you are a grown-up and are there to help them. You are their advocate.
- Think about what you would appreciate coming from a teacher.
- Get down on the child’s level, look them in the eye and quietly correct him/her whenever possible.
- Try to relax, especially if you are a “control freak” or “perfectionist.” Little children will make all kinds of mistakes–it’s part of the learning process. Firmly correct them for dangerous behaviors, but NEVER tell them they are bad or stupid.
Handle your own emotions.
- You are the adult. You should never act out of anger, frustration or anxiety. You should never strike a child or anything else.
- It’s okay to use a loud/strong voice sometimes to get their attention, but do it in an interesting, attention-getting way–not drenched with your own emotion.
- Correct a child quietly and casually when they say a “naughty” word or otherwise try to upset you. Say, “We don’t use words like that at school.”
Don’t talk much.
- Students should not have to spend more than a minute or so listening to you.
- School and learning can actually be fun. Don’t require them to sit “crisscross, apple-sauce,” motionless and stay quiet for long periods.